Africa: No More Impunity for Journalists’ Murders – CPJ read full article at

Nairobi — The brand new yr introduced dangerous information for press freedom on the African continent with the brutal homicide of 1 journalist and the suspicious loss of life of one other.

Committee to Defend Journalists (CPJ) Africa program head Angela Quintal mentioned that to begin the yr with the loss of life of at the least two prime journalists in a single week was very dangerous information and is hopefully not an ominous signal for the yr forward.

“The brutal murder of Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo who was abducted, tortured, and killed in the capital, Yaounde, and the suspicious death in a road accident of John Williams Ntwali, the independent and outspoken Rwandan journalist in Kigali, has left the media community reeling, I feel punch-drunk, and it’s only the start of the year,” mentioned Quintal.

The African Editors Discussion board (TAEF) additionally expressed shock, anger, and outrage over these deaths and deliberate to make representations to the governments of Rwanda and Cameroon to “demand full public reports on the circumstances leading to their deaths.”

Sadly, these will not be remoted incidents. In 2022 alone, CPJ documented at the least six journalists killed in sub-Saharan Africa and confirmed that 4 of them, Ahmed Mohamed Shukur and Mohamed Isse Hassan in Somalia and Evariste Djailoramdji and Narcisse Oredje in Chad, had been killed in connection to their work.

“In these four cases, the journalists were killed either on dangerous assignments or crossfire in relation to their work. We continue to investigate the death in Kenya of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif and Jean Saint-Clair Maka Gbossokotto in the Central African Republic to determine whether their deaths are in connection to their journalism,” Quintal mentioned.

Quintal mentioned Somalia continues to prime CPJ’s International Impunity Index because the worst nation the place “the killers of journalists invariably walk free, and there is no accountability or justice for their deaths.”

In 2022, six journalists had been killed in connection to their work: Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled and Jamal Farah Adan in Somalia, David Beriain and Roberto Fraile in Burkina Faso, Joel Mumbere Musavuli in DRC, and Sisay Fida in Ethiopia. This is identical variety of journalists killed in 2021.

Quintal mentioned Sisay’s loss of life was the primary confirmed case since 1998 {that a} journalist was killed in Ethiopia. CPJ continues to research the loss of life of Dawit Kebede Araya in Ethiopia in 2021 to find out whether or not it was associated to journalism.

“By far, most journalists who have been killed are local reporters. Of the six in 2021, two Russian journalists were murdered in Burkina Faso, and we continue to investigate the killing last year in Kenya of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif to determine whether the motive was related to journalism,” Quintal added.

“The years 2022 and 2021 saw the most journalists killed annually since 2015 when CPJ documented at least 11 killed, and I pray that we not going to see a return to the dark days of double-digit killings. One journalist killed is one journalist too many.”

Quintal decries the degrees of impunity and the failure of governments to make sure justice for almost all of killed journalists and their families–a development mirrored elsewhere on the planet.”

Globally, based on CPJ’s 2022 annual report, the killings of journalists rose practically 50 p.c amid lawlessness and conflict, and in 80 p.c of those, there was full impunity.

“This illustrates a steep decline in press freedom globally, something that we also see in terms of record figures in the number of jailed journalists globally. The year 2022 saw the highest number of jailed journalists around the world in 30 years. With a record-breaking 363 journalists behind bars as of December 1, 2022,” Quintal stresses.

CPJ’s editorial director Arlene Getz notes, “in a year marked by conflict and repression, authoritarian leaders double down on their criminalization of independent reporting, deploying increasing cruelty to stifle dissenting voices and undermine press freedom.”

Towards this chilling backdrop, Quintal tells IPS that short-term options embody the political will from governments, matched by the mandatory monetary and human sources, to arrest, prosecute and convict these responsible of crimes in opposition to journalists.

“It is time governments walk the talk … This would send a clear signal that there will be consequences for harming a journalist.”

There’s additionally an pressing must spend money on digital and bodily security coaching for journalists and emergency visas for journalists in misery.

“This is where the international community can play an important role. Diplomatic missions in countries where journalists are threatened by those in power, for example, can assist local journalists who need to relocate in an emergency,” she mentioned.