Nigerian journalists charged with criminal defamation, breach of peace

Authorities should drop all charges against journalists Joe Ogbodu and Prince Amour Udemude, and reform Nigeria’s penal code to ensure that journalism is not criminalized, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 24, a magistrate court in Asaba, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Delta State, arraigned Ogbodu, an editor with the privately owned news website Big Pen Nigeria, and Udemude, a reporter with the privately owned National Mirror newspaper, on four counts of criminal defamation and one count of disturbing the peace, according to the journalists and a report by Big Pen Nigeria. Defamation and disturbing the…Read more

Singapore’s premier hounds website editor again

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to abandon his latest absurd complaint against Terry Xu, the editor of the independent news website The Online Citizen (TOC), and to stop deploying his army of lawyers against anyone who publishes news reports he doesn’t like. In what resembles David going into battle against Goliath, Terry Xufiled a “memorandum of appearance” with Singapore’s high court today in response to the summons issued against him five days ago on Lee’s behalf over a 15 August article. Xu’s filing means that he intends to defend himself…Read more

CPJ concerned about Pakistan media court initiative

Pakistan’s federal cabinet has approved an initiative to establish specialized courts aimed at resolving media-related issues, the government announced yesterday, according to news reports. The proposal drew swift condemnation on social media from human rights and press freedom organizations. “The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned that Pakistani authorities are moving forward with this vague plan to establish specialized media courts, despite an outcry from local journalists,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Instead, Pakistan needs to strengthen the nation’s democracy by freeing newspapers and broadcasters from the intense official pressures they already face.” The courts would…Read more

Nigerian publisher Agba Jalingo charged with treason

Nigerian authorities should drop all charges against publisher Agba Jalingo, release him from detention, and stop using the country’s state security laws to harass government critics, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On August 30, federal authorities in southern Nigeria’s Cross River state charged Jalingo, the publisher of the privately owned news website CrossRiverWatch, with disturbance of public peace and treason for his writings and social media posts about Cross River Governor Benedict Ayade, according to a copy of the charge sheet reviewed by CPJ and Attah Ochinke, the journalist’s lawyer, who spoke to…Read more

Singapore prime minister threatens to sue The Online Citizen for libel

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong should drop his legal threat against news website The Online Citizen and cease his government’s long-running legal harassment of independent media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. On September 1, Lee’s press secretary, Chang Li Lin, sent a letter to The Online Citizen’s chief editor, Terry Xu, threatening to file libel charges if he did not retract an article about Lee’s allegedly strained relationship with his siblings from the outlet’s website and Facebook page and publish an unconditional apology by September 4, according to news reports citing the letter. Xu told CPJ via…Read more

Framework adopted by Ghana police set to improve relationship with the media

The Ghana Police Service (GPS) has adopted a new framework aimed at fostering a better relationship between the Service and the media, following a year-long series of multi-stakeholder processes facilitated by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).  This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 20 August 2019. The Ghana Police Service (GPS) has adopted a new framework aimed at promoting relations between the Service and the media, enhancing safety of journalists and countering impunity for crimes against journalists in Ghana. The adoption of the Framework followed over a year-long series of multi-stakeholder engagements…Read more

Cameroonian journalist detained on criminal defamation and false news charges

Abidjan, June 20, 2019 -- Cameroonian authorities should immediately release journalist Paul Chouta and drop criminal defamation and false news charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 28, in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, five police officers arrested Chouta, who works as a reporter for the privately owned Cameroon Web news website, in response to a defamation complaint filed by French Cameroonian writer Calixthe Beyala, according to Cameroon Web editor-in-chief Emmanuel Vitus, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app, and a person with knowledge of the case who asked not to be…Read more

UK Home Secretary gives green light to extradite Julian Assange to the US

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is deeply concerned by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to sign a request by the US to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, giving the court the green light to consider the request. RSF reiterates its call on all relevant authorities to prioritise the protection of the role of journalism, including journalistic sources, in their treatment of Assange. On 13 June, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a request by the United States to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been indicted in the US on 18 charges related to…Read more

Ugandan editor charged with criminal libel and ‘offensive communication’

Authorities in Uganda should end the criminal proceedings against Pidson Kareire, managing editor of privately owned news website The Drone Media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 12, police in the capital, Kampala, arrested Kareire on charges, filed on April 30, of four counts of criminal libel and four counts of "offensive communication," according to the journalist's lawyer, Daniel Walyemera, who spoke to CPJ, and a charge sheet seen by CPJ. The charges stem from The Drone Media's reporting on a local recruitment firm, Middle East Consultants Limited, according to Walyemera and…Read more

Lesotho Constitutional Court applauded for declaring criminal defamation unconstitutional

On 21 May the Lesotho High Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, declared criminal defamation as unconstitutional. The decision has been lauded across the globe by advocates campaigning against criminal defamation, insult, false news and sedition laws across the African continent. Kicking off on home ground, MISA Lesotho applauded the landmark judgement for its "contribution to an enabling environment for media operations." “We commend the Lesotho Constitutional Court bench for its brave decision, which makes a significant contribution to freedom of expression jurisprudence in the region”, said Anneke Meerkotter, litigation director of the…Read more