Nigerian journalist detained by security forces, interrogated over sources

Nigerian authorities should cease their intimidation of journalist Saint Mienpamo Onitsha and ensure that security forces permit the press to work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 1 a.m. on May 9, four masked Department of State Services agents forced their way into the home of Onitsha, the founder of Naija Live TV, an independent news website, in Yenagoa, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Bayelsa state, blindfolded him, and drove him around for more than three hours before bringing him to the department’s local headquarters, according to the journalist, who…Read more

South African police assault, charge journalist Paul Nthoba after he photographs COVID-19 lockdown

Authorities in South Africa should conduct a swift investigation into the beating of journalist Paul Nthoba and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 15, at least four police officers in Meqheleng, in Free State province, beat Nthoba, the owner and editor of the weekly Mohokare News local newspaper, who had photographed them while they were on patrol enforcing the area’s COVID-19 lockdown, according to news reports and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. The officers later charged Nthoba with obstructing law enforcement under a COVID-19 regulation…Read more

Indian journalist Dhaval Patel arrested, charged with sedition

Following his arrest, authorities in Gujarat must immediately release journalist Dhaval Patel and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. On May 11, police in Ahmedabad, in western Gujarat state, detained Patel and yesterday charged him with sedition and spreading false news amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his lawyer Anand Yagnik, who spoke to CPJ over the phone, and news reports. The charges stem from a news article Patel, editor of the Face of Nation news website, published on May 7 alleging that Gujarat’s chief minister may be replaced after displeasure of his handling…Read more

Swaziland journalists harassed, threatened with treason charges over reporting on king

Swaziland police should stop intimidating and harassing local journalists for reporting critically about King Mswati III and should allow them to write freely without the threat of treason charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On April 23, police officers raided the home of Eugene Dube, the editor and publisher of the privately owned news website Swati Newsweek, and seized his three mobile phones, a laptop, and work documents, according to local news reports and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ by phone and messaging app. Officers took Dube to a local police station in Nhlangano,…Read more

Sierra Leone security forces attack, charge journalist covering COVID

Authorities in Sierra Leone should immediately drop all charges against journalist Fayia Amara Fayia and ensure those responsible for the attacks against him are held accountable, the Committee to Protect Journalists` has said. On April 1, in Sierra Leone’s eastern Kenema city, a group of at least 10 soldiers attacked Fayia, a reporter with the Standard Times newspaper, hitting him with their guns and kicking him, according to the journalist, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview, and a statement by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, a local press freedom group. Fayia told CPJ that…Read more

Covid-19 triggers surge in violence, prosecutions against Bangladeshi journalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by the increase in cases of civilian and police violence and judicial harassment of journalists trying to cover coronavirus-related issues in Bangladesh in the month since a general lockdown was imposed on the population. Many of the cases are detailed below. When the two journalists tried to approach Nasir Uddin, a district boss accompanied by several henchmen, they were badly beaten with sticks. In a Facebook post, Biplod described how they were attacked and how, “fearing for his life,” he managed to drag Bhuiyan’s body on to a…Read more

Police in India’s Tamil Nadu state arrest journalist over COVID-19 coverage

Authorities in India’s Tamil Nadu state must immediately release journalist Andrew Sam Raja Pandian and drop their investigation into his outlet’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested Pandian, founder and chief executive of the SimpliCity news portal, yesterday in the city of Coimbatore, and accused him of violating the Epidemic Diseases Act and two sections of the penal code, according to news reports and Tamil Nadu-based journalist Sandhya Ravishankar, editor of news website The Lede, who is familiar with the case and spoke to CPJ in a phone interview. The…Read more

Ugandan security personnel enforcing COVID-19 measures assault journalists

Since March 19, security forces have harassed or assaulted at least six journalists in the country while enforcing restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the journalists, who spoke to CPJ, and a statement by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, a local press rights group. Uganda’s COVID-19 response measures have included a curfew and restrictions on public gatherings and transportation, according to news reports. President Yoweri Museveni classified the media as essential workers, not subject to those restrictions, according to declarations from the president and a report by the Daily Monitor.  “Journalists are essential workers and perform a…Read more

In Ghana, soldiers enforcing COVID-19 restrictions attack 2 journalists

Ghana’s military should investigate the recent attacks on the press by soldiers and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On April 5, in the Aboaba Akurem community in south-central Kumasi city, a group of soldiers attacked and briefly detained Yussif Abdul Ganiyu, a reporter with the German government-funded Deutsche Welle news agency and the local privately owned Zuria FM radio station, according to the journalist, who spoke to CPJ via phone and messaging app, and statements by the Ghana Journalist Association and Deutsche Welle spokesperson Christoph Jumpelt,…Read more

Zambia cancels broadcaster Prime TV’s license, police shutter office

Zambian authorities should restore Prime TVs broadcast license and cease harassing the outlet, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On April 9, the Independent Broadcasting Authority, Zambia’s broadcasting regulator, cancelled Prime TV’s license “in the interest of public safety, security, peace, welfare or good order,” according to a statement from the regulator, which CPJ reviewed. The statement said that Prime TV must surrender its license and cease broadcasting immediately. It did not specify any broadcasts or actions by the station’s employees that prompted the decision. On the same day, police arrived at…Read more