UK: Rudd’s plans to criminalise viewing of extremist content another threat to journalists

Reporters Without Borders  is deeply concerned by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd's announcement on 2 October 2017 of plans to criminalise the viewing of extremist content. The new laws would reportedly see anyone "repeatedly" viewing extremist content online jailed for up to 15 years. Rudd's announcement was delivered during her keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester. "This will close an important gap in legislation", she stated. In responding to a question from a member of the audience, she said "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how…Read more

Anti-terror law used to silence critical media in Cameroon

Cameroon's broadly worded anti-terror law is being used by authorities to arrest and threaten local journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a report released today. The report, Journalists Not Terrorists: In Cameroon, anti-terror legislation is used to silence critics and suppress dissent, finds that despite a presidential decree ending legal proceedings against at least four journalists, the law that was used against them is still in place as next year's elections approach. The anti-terror law, enacted to counter the extremist group Boko Haram, has been used to silence journalists who report…Read more

Publications could be shut down under Zambia’s “state of threatened public emergency”

The International Press Institute (IPI) has expressed concern over the imposition of emergency powers in Zambia and recent comments made by the inspector-general of police that some publications could be closed while the 90-day state of emergency was in place. On July 5, 2017 Zambian President Edgar Lungu initiated a "state of threatened public emergency" and indicated that he might declare a full state of emergency if the "existing situation" in the country is "allowed to continue", a procedure set out in the country's Constitution. The move came amid a string of apparent…Read more

Kenya seeks to restrict political commentary on social media ahead of elections

Kenyan authorities should ensure that proposed social media guidelines do not prevent journalists from reporting critically or close the space for public debate ahead of general elections due to take place August 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Two government bodies--the Communications Authority, which has regulatory oversight in broadcasting and telecommunications, and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, which promotes national unity--are reviewing the results of a public consultation on draft guidelines that they proposed to prevent the spread of inflammatory content and hate speech on messaging and social media platforms.…Read more

Tanzania imposes two-year publishing ban on newspaper

Tanzania should immediately revoke a publishing ban on Mawio, a privately owned weekly newspaper, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Tanzania's Information, Sports and Culture minister Harrison Mwakyembe imposed a 24-month ban on Mawio's print editions and any articles posted online yesterday over articles that mentioned two retired presidents, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete, in reports on a government investigation into allegations of misconduct in the mining sector, according to a statement released by the director of Information Services, Hassan Abbasi. The statement, viewed by CPJ, accused Mawio of contravening a state…Read more

Indian journalist charged under Official Secrets Act

Authorities in India should immediately drop all charges against Poonam Agrawal, a journalist for the English-language news website The Quint, the Committee to Protect journalists said today. Police in Nashik, roughly 170 kilometres (105 miles) northeast of Mumbai, on March 28 opened a criminal case against Agrawal on charges of spying and criminal trespass under the Official Secrets Act, a 1923 anti-espionage law. They also charged her with criminal defamation and abetment of a suicide under the Penal Code, according to the journalist and media reports. If convicted of all charges, she faces…Read more

After two-year trial, Ugandan journalists acquitted of criminal defamation

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda The Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road has acquitted four journalists of criminal defamation and convicted the source of defamatory information. Madina Nalwanga and Patrick Tumwesigye of New Vision, and Benon Tugumiisirize and Ronald Nahabwe – formerly of Red Pepper – were found not “criminally liable” for what was published and had no intention to defame the complainants. However, the court found the provider of the information, Ssegawa Tamale, guilty. He will be sentenced on 17 March 2017 at 2:00 P.M “I am convinced by the evidence of A2…Read more

Kenya’s High Court declares criminal defamation unconstitutional

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the decision today by Kenya's High Court declaring Section 194 of the Penal Code, which creates the offence of criminal defamation, unconstitutional. ARTICLE 19, alongside Jaqueline Okuta and Jackson Njeru, petitioned the High Court in Nairobi that the provision was a disproportionate and unjustifiable limitation of freedom of expression. Jaqueline and Jackson had been charged under the section for publishing posts about a prominent Kenyan lawyer on a consumer protection Facebook page called 'Buyer Beware'. Jackson is an administrator of the page. Justice JM Mativo declared that Section 194 of…Read more

War of words with Nigerian army lands journalists in jail

The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria has described the invasion of the premises of Premium Times in Abuja and the subsequent arrest of its Publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi and the judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu, by armed police men on the night of January 19, 2017, as an unacceptable assault on freedom of the press. The director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said in a statement today (January 20, 2017), that the attack on Premium Times – as well as the harassment of other journalists in recent times – are completely antithetical to democratic values and norms at the…Read more

Gambia orders three radio stations to cease broadcasting

The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Gambian authorities to allow three independent radio stations to resume full broadcasting. Taranga FM, Hilltop Radio, and Afri Radio stopped broadcasting on January 1 on the orders of national security agents, who did not give any explanation for the measure, according to news reports. The closures come amid a political crisis in Gambia after President Yahya Jammeh refused to admit defeat in elections last month. Authorities may have targeted at least one of the stations after it announced details of President-elect Adama Barrow's inauguration, planned…Read more
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