Journalist Jones Abiri acquitted, awarded damages

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 14 September 2018. A Federal High Court in Abuja has awarded 10 million Naira (about US$27,500) in damages to Jones Abiri, describing the journalist's two-year detention without trial as an "outright conviction." Giving his ruling, the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, rejected as baseless the government's submission that Abiri was detained in the interest of national security. He also questioned the government's refusal to arraign the journalist after taking his statement upon his arrest. Abiri, who is the editor of the Weekly Sources newspaper, was arrested on…Read more

RSF Publishes 2018 World Press Freedom Index

The 2018 World Press Freedom Index  which has been published by RSF indicates growing animosity towards journalists. Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies. The highest ranking Commonwealth country is Jamaica at number 6 and the lowest ranking is Rwanda at 156 out of 170 countries.  Read more

UK Society of Editors welcomes defeat of Lords data protection amendments

The  UK Society has Editors has welcomed the defeat in the House of Commons of ‘perverse’ amendments to the Data Protection Bill. The clauses, 168 and 169, would have seen publishers forced to pay both sides costs of legal actions brought against them in data protection cases regardless or not of whether they won an action in court. The amendments, previously added to the Data Protection Bill in the House of Lords, were removed during the Committee stage of the Bill’s passing in the House of Commons yesterday. Ian Murray, Executive Director of…Read more

Two Nigerian journalists charged with cybercrime

Nigerian authorities should immediately drop plans to charge Timothy and Daniel Elombah, editor and chief executive respectively, of the independent Elombah news website, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. A federal court in Abuja is scheduled to arraign the brothers on cybercrime and terrorism-related offenses on March 1, their lawyer Obunike Ohaegbu told CPJ. "Timothy and Daniel Elombah are journalists and not terrorists who should be free to continue their journalism without legal harassment or fear of going to jail," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal from New York. "Authorities should drop…Read more

“Red Pepper” staff arrested in Uganda

UPDATE: On 27 November 2017, the Buganda Road Court charged the Red Pepper editors and directors with seven counts including libel and offensive communication (HRNJ-Uganda). Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of eight senior employees of the Kampala-based Red Pepper tabloid, arrested on 21 November, and for the reopening of the newspaper, which was closed the same day. The eight employees arrested during an anti-terrorist police raid on Red Pepper'sheadquarters were directors Patrick Mugumya, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni and Johnson Musinguzi Byarabaha, financial manager Richard Tusiime and editors Ben Byarabaha,…Read more

2017 Astor Award Commemorative Ceremony in Karachi

  Owais Aslam Ali, Chairman of the Pakistan Press Foundation, accepted the 2017 Astor Award for press freedom at a commemorative ceremony hosted by The Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA)  in Karachi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZaaf_AvMYRead more

UK Foreign Secretary announces free speech funding

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has today (Thursday) committed UK support for freedom of expression projects in countries where press freedom is curtailed. Today, on the International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, Mr Johnson has committed to spending £1m over the next financial year on projects that will enable journalists and media professionals to promote their own free press and uphold human rights. Funding will be available for press freedom projects in countries where media freedom is under significant pressure. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: Freedom of expression is a…Read more

Three Cameroonian journalists charged with criminal defamation

The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Cameroonian authorities to immediately halt the prosecution of three journalists after a judge on October 9 changed the charges against them mid-trial. Authorities on October 28, 2014, originally charged the journalists with "non-denunciation" for failing to disclose information and sources to the state that could harm national security under Article 107 of Cameroon's Criminal Code, according to CPJ research. During the October 9 military court hearing, the trial judge charged Félix Cyriaque Ebolé Bola, the sub-editor of the daily Mutations; Baba Wamé, a journalist and…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

“Daily Post” publishers ordered to pay US$180,000 in defamation suit

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) An Accra High Court has ordered the publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi, to pay an amount of GHC 800,000 (US$180,000) to a former Minister of State. The verdict follows an action for defamation brought by Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who is currently the Board Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board, against the newspaper and one Mahama Haruna, an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Michael Dokosi was found guilty on July 25, 2017 of defaming the former minister and ordered to…Read more