PEN SA Africa Pulse #16
09 Jun 2017
PEN SA Africa Pulse is a weekly round-up of news concerning cases of freedom of expression and the freedom of the press in Africa.
Egypt’s government can’t crush independent journalism
The Egyptian government shut down about 21 websites last week, including the main website of Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and prominent local independent news site Mada Masr. The government accused the websites of supporting terrorism and spreading false news. Lina Attalah, a journalist with Mada Masr, writes in The New York Times about the violation of the freedom of the press.
The New York Times.
Governor Kenneth Lusaka’s bodyguards beat up journalist for airing ‘bad’ stories
Emmanuel Namisi, a Royal Media journalist, was attacked at a night club in Bungoma, Kenya, whilst with another colleague. The Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka’s security team, led by former KDF officer Kisaka Mufutu stormed into the club and started beating him. Namisi said Mufutu confronted him demanding to know why he aired a story accusing one of Lusaka’s bodyguards of killing a woman during a chaotic rally in Bungoma town last Friday.
Nigerian writer kidnapped, allegedly for speaking out against homophobia
A Nigerian writer, Chibụìhè Obi, who wrote an essay titled ‘We’re Queer, We’re Here’ in the literature blog Brittle Paper, was kidnapped last week. The writer has since been released. This is not the first time that in the last few months homophobia has reared its ugly head in Nigeria. In addition to Obi’s kidnapping, Romeo Oriogun, the 2017’s Brunel International African Poetry Prize, received death threats after his win. His poetry was praised by the judges of the prize for his “complex and ultimately beautiful” writing on masculinity, sexuality and desire in the face of LGBT criminalisation and persecution.
Mamba Online and Brittle Paper
Nigerian journalist beaten over Facebook post
Charles Otu, an Ebonyi State-based journalist, was assaulted last weekend in Abakaliki, the state capital. Otu, who is the publisher of Conscience, a local newspaper, published a post on Facebook to “expose the failures of a state government in many sectors and critically analyze its programmes and projects.”