Friday, March 31, 2023

Q&A: Journalists reporting on corruption, governance in Africa vulnerable to attacks – media body | News24

Q&A: Journalists reporting on corruption, governance in Africa vulnerable to attacks - media body | News24

Reporting on corruption and governance are two main areas that make journalists in Africa weak to assaults, says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In the second a part of News24’s interview with Angela Quintal, the Africa programme coordinator of CPJ, she talks on to African governments concerning the fixed harassment and ongoing killing of journalists.

Lenin Ndebele: What is your message concerning media freedom to governments in international locations the place elections might be held this yr?

Angela Quintal: If governments are dedicated to democracy, then they are going to settle for that journalists are important to the holding of democratic elections.

That implies that journalists must be allowed to report freely and safely and never discover themselves attacked or thrown behind a police van and detained by overzealous police or army officers.

Governments must also decide to the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists past simply mere phrases and make sure that journalists can cowl elections freely and with out worry of being attacked by safety forces or ruling celebration supporters and politicians, or for that matter from the opposition.

Where journalists are assaulted or threatened – be it on-line or bodily – there must be penalties for his or her attackers, and which means arrests and prosecution.

Ndebele: What are the worst international locations to work in as a journalist?

Quintal: One can attempt to rank international locations by way of the worst on this, that or the opposite… the fact is that one assault on a journalist is one assault too many.

Ndebele: Which beats (points by which a journalist specialises) are probably the most harmful to cowl in Africa?

Quintal: Covering corruption could be lethal, as we noticed with Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela in Ghana, and Cameroon, respectively, to say however two.

It (killing) is the final word type of censorship. It is unsurprising that while you have a look at what beats could be deadly for journalists, masking corruption is up there.

Covering corruption can even topic journalists to lawfare, the place journalists exposing corruption face authorized harassment, together with legal defamation fees as we’ve seen constantly in Angola, or are positioned underneath judicial supervision, as we noticed with Ivorian journalist Barthélémy Téhin.

Journalists additionally obtained loss of life threats, as was the case with Saviour Imukudo in Nigeria, and even imprisonment on trumped-up fees for reporting on corruption, like Ferdinand Ayité and Joël Egah in Togo.

Ndebele: How are cyber legal guidelines utilized by African international locations to frustrate the work of the media?

Quintal: CPJ has documented the rising use of cyber legal guidelines to silence journalists throughout the continent. Often these legal guidelines, that are essential to struggle little one pornography or cybercrime for instance, are drafted so broadly that they criminalise journalism and stifle criticism and dissent.

We have seen this additionally with the usage of anti-terror legal guidelines, that are clearly essential, however when drafted so broadly, they’re open to abuse by repressive governments hell-bent on controlling freedom of expression and media freedom.

In Nigeria, way back to 2016, CPJ highlighted how the cybercrime legislation enacted in that nation in 2015 was being abused.

Over the years, we’ve documented many circumstances of the cybercrime legislation getting used in opposition to journalists, which has resulted of their prosecution and imprisonment in Nigeria. It contains the case of Luka Binniyat.

Many international locations, together with Nigeria and Sudan, criminalise false information of their cybercrime legislation to muzzle the press, as CPJ has documented.

READ | Victory for press freedom in Tanzania, but DRC bans newspaper

It’s as if governments consider that whereas imprisoning journalists on anti-state fees will open them as much as scrutiny and worldwide condemnation, charging journalists on cyber-related fees will one way or the other be extra palatable.

In Zimbabwe, for instance, we’ve seen at the very least three journalists arrested underneath the Data Protection Act, which we consider is inimical to press freedom.

In Niger, we had journalists Moussa Aksar and Samira Sabou convicted and fined underneath that nation’s cybercrime legal guidelines. In Tanzania, for instance, we had a cartoonist arrested underneath the cybercrime legislation for his cartoon about President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

It’s relentless, however there has additionally been excellent news the place governments have handed repressive cybercrime legal guidelines and the courts have overturned problematic sections, together with extra lately in Uganda, the place the Constitutional Court struck down a problematic part that criminalised “offensive communication” underneath the Computer Misuse Act.

In Zambia, in the meantime, we’re ready for President Hakainde Hichilema to maintain his pre-election promise and to amend his nation’s problematic cybercrime legislation that was enacted by his predecessor Edgar Lungu shortly earlier than leaving workplace.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The tales produced by means of the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that could be contained herein don’t replicate these of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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