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Back You are here: Home Newsletter: Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa, 05 Oct 2012

Newsletter: Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa, 05 Oct 2012

This monthly newsletter provides a snapshot of the status of Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa. It was compiled by ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa with the assistance of its partners in the respective countries. Funding support has been provided by European Union (EU), however the content of the newsletter does not reflect the opinion of the EU.

Month watch : This month saw an escalation of attacks against Somali journalists with 6 of them losing their lives.

22 September: Journalist denied bail

The High court refused to give bail to Stanley Gatera who has been charged with divisionism and sectarianism according to Article 136 of the penal code.  Gatera, who is the managing editor of Umusingi, was arrested after complaints were filed by the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) and women’s rights non-governmental organisation ProFemme Twese Hamwe over an article published in Umusingi issue 71 dated June 25-July 5, 2012. The story titled “Impamvu abagabo bahura n’ibibazo kubera gukurikira ubwiza bwabakobwa bitwaga Abatutsi,” which loosely translates “Marriage failures are a result of men falling for beautiful Tutsi women”, is reported to have angered women rights organizations who said it caused sectarianism and divisionism. His case is being supported by Article 19 through the Emergency Support Fund.

13 September:  Journalists released without being charged

Two journalists were released after being illegally detained by the governor of Awdal region in Somaliland.  No charges or explanations were given as to why Hashim Sheik Omar - a correspondent for Somali satellite Television, and Mursal Cilmi Omer - a correspondent of bulsho TV, had been arrested in the first place.

17 September: Freelance journalists killed in Mogadishu

Zakariye Mohamed Mohamud Moallim, who was working as a freelance journalist, was shot dead on 16 September 2012 in Nasib Bundo neighbourhood of Shibis district in Mogadishu.  It is reported that he was shot in the head and chest and that the killers escaped from the scene.

20 September:  3 journalists killed by suicide bombers

Three suicide bombers blew themselves up at the Village cafeteria where journalists normally gather. According to Article 19 partners based in Somalia, those killed included Abdisatar Dahir Sabriye from Radio Muqdisho; Liban Ali Nuur from Somali National TV; and Abdirahmaan Yasiin, the Director of VOD Radio Xama. Abdiqadir Ahmed Timoos, Mohamed Husein “Gentleman”, Mohamed Ibrahim “Biibaaye” from radio Mogadishu and SNTV; Abdullahi Mohamed “Suldaan” and Nuure Mohamed Ali of Kulmiye radio; Mohamed Bishaar of Mustaqbal Radio and Abdikarin Gutale of S24 Television were seriously injured.

27 September: Journalist found beheaded

The body of the late Abdirahman Mohamed Ali, an online journalist for Somali sports news website was found beheaded at Barwaaqo restaurant at the suuqa xoolaha neighbourhood in Mogadishu. The motive of the killing is unclear and no group claimed responsibility.

28 September: Journalist killed at checkpoint

Ahmed Fanah, a journalist with SABA news in Yemen was shot and killed as he was passing a security checkpoint in Wardhigley district in Mogadishu. The motive for the killing was unknown.

25 September: High court orders property of jailed journalists to be confiscated

The Ethiopian Federal High Court ordered the confiscation of property of the jailed journalists Eskinder Nega and Abebe Gelaw,who are serving 18 and 15 years jail terms respectively. The decision was made after a request was made by federal prosecutors. The property includes a villa house registered under Nega's name, a residential house inherited from his parents, and an automobile registered under his wife's name. Gelaw’s property includes a residential villa in Addis Ababa.

11 September: Police fail to arrest Mayor for assaulting a journalist

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) accused the police of failing to execute a warrant of arrest issued against City Mayor Godfrey Nyakaana Amooti on charges of having assaulted a journalist during the local council elections. On 23 February 2011, Nyakaana is alleged to have assaulted Red Pepper journalist George Fidel Arinaitwe destroying his Sony camera worth UGX 400,000 (USD 156).  Nyakaana was said to have been displeased by Arinaitwe who had taken photos of violence that had broken out during the elections. He is said to have confiscated the camera from Fidel and destroyed its memory card before beating him several times.

According to HRNJ-Uganda, the first arrest warrant against Nyakaana was issued on 13 July 2012 by Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Mary Eleanor Khainza was issued after he failed to honour a criminal summons issued against him in June of this year. Subsequent warrants were issued on 27 July 2012 and 30 August but they were never executed. The case has been adjourned to 5 October 2012 and the warrant of arrest extended to the same date. It is worth noting that this case has failed to take off and has been repeatedly adjourned due to police’s failure to arrest Nyakaana.

13 September: NTV journalist injured by residents

On 10 September, David Wandeka, a correspondent in Mbale, Eastern Uganda for Nation Television (NTV) was injured while covering a protest on the construction of a water dam in the area along River Manafwa. He was hit by a stone when residents tried to chase away a team of government officials led by the State minister for water and environment, Betty Bigombe who wanted to address them.

24 September: Assault case of Rebecca Nakame continues

Two witnesses have testified against Ddungu Erias, who is accused of assaulting journalist Rebecca Nakame from Vision Group. Erias is accused, along with two other people not before the court, of assaulting and seriously injuring Nakame on 20 April 2012 at Bweya village, Ssissa sub-county in Wakiso district. They are charged with occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to section 236 of The Penal Code and were also were also accused of confiscating and destroying her video camera.

Nakaweesi Sumaiya testified that he saw the accused beating up Nakame. The second witness was Dr. Ojara Santo, a medical doctor who carried out a medical examination. He testified that that when he examined the journalist, she was distressed and had a wound on the right foot measuring 2cm and tenderness on the back. The injuries were less than one day old and were caused by a blunt object. The case continues.

26 September: Hoima Journalist harassed by police

HRNJ-Uganda reported that Fred Byenkya aka Fredo, who works with Spice FM in Western Uganda, was being harassed by police after airing a recording criticizing Uganda President Yoweri Museveni.

On 25 August 2012 during a political talk show called ‘Your Parliament’ Byenkya aired a recording of Buyaga West, Member of Parliament Barnabas Tinkasimire, which reportedly accused President Museveni of failing to unite the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and of marginalising the Bunyoro sub-region in development programmes. Since the day the broadcast was made, Byenkya has been interrogated four times by different police officers at Hoima but no charges have been brought against him. According to HRNJ-Uganda, the detectives allegedly told him they suspected the show may have caused hatred against the person of the President.

2 September: Journalists killed while covering political party meeting

Daudi Mwangosi, a journalist for the TV station Channel Ten TV station and chairperson of Iringa press club died after being hit on the stomach by a tear gas canister thrown by police to disperse a Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) party meeting. Following his death, the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) and Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) formed a probe team to investigate the death of Mwangosi. Another team of experts from various government agencies led by the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Mr. Robert Manumba, also launched an investigation on 3 September 2012 into the circumstances that led to the killing of the journalist. The reports have not yet been released.

24 September: Prison wardens beat up journalist

A journalist was attacked filming prison warders assaulting a robber who tried to escape court. Jonathan Mutiso, a journalist with Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) was also attacked by prison warden after capturing the incident on camera.

The robber attempted to flee the court through the roof and was beaten up by Prison wardens. After apprehending the suspect, the prison officers started to attack him with kicks and blows unaware that the journalist was filming the whole incident. When they discovered they had been caught on camera, the wardens caught Mutiso and started assaulting him ordering that the footage be deleted. The camera man was injured on his head, neck and hand and reported the matter to Machakos police station. The Prison department promised to investigate the matter and hold to account any warden found to have assaulted the journalists.

14 September: Sudanese government blocks YouTube

The Sudanese government blocked access to the website YouTube after the company refused to pull down a fourteen minute low budget video which insults Prophet Mohammed. The video led to violent protests across the Muslim world and several embassies were attacked.

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