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Report on status of Freedom Of Expression in Eastern Africa

22 November 2013

At least 13 journalists have been killed in Eastern Africa in 2013. The finding comes from a snapshot report by the international free speech group ARTICLE 19 published today, which highlights potential cases of human rights violations against journalists and media outlets across East Africa since 1 January 2013. Somalia remains the deadliest country in the region for journalists, where the group note the killing of 10 journalists so far this year.

The report provides a snapshot of the violence and intimidation faced by journalists and media outlets, including reports of deaths, punitive legal action taken in relation to media reports, as well as bans to publications and broadcasts for the past ten months.

“The killing of journalists is the ultimate form of censorship and a severe blow to democracy. The authorities must make every effort to bring those responsible for these killings to justice or risk the security situation deteriorating even further” said Henry Maina, Director of ARTICLE 19 East Africa.

Kenya, Rwanda, Eritrea and Ethiopia show the highest levels of harassment and arrests for journalists in the region. ARTICLE 19 is particularly concerned that the situation in Eritrea is far worse than monitoring indicates. International media and civil society organisations are banned from the country, making it almost impossible to get a real sense of the situation people in the country face. Eritrea is the most heavily censored country in the region. All media organisations in the country are controlled by the state.

“It is high time the international community addressed the situation in Eritrea. The very fact that there is so little reliable information about the state of human rights in the country should sound alarm bells. The long detained without trial Eritrean journalists risk being forgotten by the world. The Eritrean journalists are out of sight, they must not be out of our minds” add Maina.

The report has been published to coincide with International Day to End Impunity, an initiative designed to raise awareness about the dangerous consequences of states failing to address human rights abuses against journalists and the media.

“The failure of governments to properly investigate human rights abuses against journalists and media organisations poses a real and present threat to the security and wellbeing of societies. An attack on freedom of expression is an attack on the very bedrock of democracy” added Henry Maina.

The report has been compiled from initial media monitoring by ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa. It includes information about cases in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. These incidents are currently under investigation by ARTICLE 19, which is working to verify and fully document the human rights abuses against journalists and media outlets in each country.

The report attached to this release includes a summary of findings, which is presented on a country by country basis.Click the link below to access the full report 

Eastern Africa Report On status of Freedom of Expression January-October 2013.pdf 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the ARTICLE 19 press office in London on ++442072342510 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or in Nairobi you can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +254(20)3862230

 

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