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Back You are here: Home Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa, 14 June 2013

Newsletter: Freedom of Expression in East Africa 14 June 2013.

Article 19.

14 June 2013.

This monthly newsletter provides a snapshot of the current state of freedom of expression in Eastern Africa. It was compiled by ARTICLE 19 Kenya and Eastern Africa with the assistance of our partners in the respective countries. Funding support has been provided by European Union (EU): the content of the newsletter, however, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the EU.

Somalia.

TV journalist seriously wounded.

On 29 May, Royal TV journalist Abdulkadir Abdirisak  Soofe, known as "Jiijiile", was shot and his face seriously wounded in Kismayo, South Somalia. He was treated and later discharged from hospital. Abdulkadir had earlier received threats warning him against filming negative reports about Ahmed Madoobe, President of Jubaland. The perpetrator was later arrested by police.

Uganda.

Police shut down media company offices.

On 20 May, police officers raided and closed down the offices of the Daily Monitor, its sister FM radio stations, KFM and Dembe FM, and Red Pepper publications. They claimed that they were looking for a letter written by General David Sejusa and published by the newspaper. In the letter, General Sejusa alleged the existence of a plot by President Yoweri Museveni to prepare his son to inherit the presidency when he retires. The media companies were reopened 10 days later.

Police violently attack protestors.

On 28 May, the Ugandan police violently attacked protesters, including journalists and human rights defenders. The protesters had been demonstrating against the forced closure of the newspapers, Daily Monitor and Red Pepper, and the radio stations, KFM and Dembe FM. Police fired tear gas canisters and physically attacked protesters. Mulindwa Mukasa and William Ntege (both from WBS TV) were arrested. Geoffrey Sebagala, the national coordinator of the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ Uganda), one of ARTICLE 19 Kenya’s partners, was also arrested but later released.

Ethiopia.

Journalist detained.

On 16 May, Muluken Tesfahun, a journalist working for the newspaper Ethio-Mehedar. was arrested in the town of Dobi in the North West region of Beneshangul-Gumuz. Tesfahun was reporting for Ethio-Mehedar about the recent evictions of the Amhara ethnic group from Beneshangul-Gumuz at the time of his arrest. He has not yet been taken to court.

Tanzania.

Attack on editor politically motivated, says Tanzania Editors Forum.

The March 2013 attack on Absalom Kibanda, Managing Editor of the New Habari Corporation, was politically motivated, according to a report released  by the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF). Kibanda, who is also chairman of the TEF, was beaten outside his home in Dar es Salaam. His fingernails and teeth were pulled out and his finger cut. The report alleges that security officers were involved in the attack on Kibanda, who has now fully recovered.

Eritrea.

African civil society groups call for urgent action on human rights.

On 31 May, more than 14 civil society groups in Africa including Article 19, wrote to the permanent representatives to the United Nations Human Rights Council. They urged for urgent measures to be taken in response to the appalling situation of widespread and systematic human rights abuse in Eritrea. This request arose from the considerable body of evidence showing ongoing gross human rights violations in Eritrea.

Kenya.

Star newspaper ordered to apologise to President Uhuru.

On 28 May, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Complaints Commission ordered The Star newspaper to apologise publicly to President Uhuru Kenyatta. The apology has been ordered as the result of an article that suggested he was unfit to be president. The Complaints Commission ordered the apology to be published within 14 days and given a similar level of prominence as the offending article published in February 2012. They also instructed The Star to remove the online version of the story with immediate effect and publish an online apology to the president. According to the commission, the online apology should appear on the website for seven days from the date of Tuesday’s ruling.

The offending article claimed that if Kenyatta became president “it will remind the world of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s when he won a German election in a landslide.” Kenyatta complained that the article incited public and ethnic hatred, and compared him to a leader whose reputation is unspeakable.