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May 01, 2014

Media Freedom Holds Its Ground in Africa

by Jeff Seldin

Conflicts in Africa, like the coup in Central African Republic, and violence in Kenya -- like the terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping center -- led to new pressures and more violence against journalists. Meanwhile, corruption raised concerns in Uganda, where one newspaper was briefly shut down.

But Freedom House says that is only part of the story. ​​

“Pretty much every other region in the world showed an overall level of decline. But in Africa, the overall regional average score remained the same and there were really bright spots, I would say, in a number of countries in West Africa and then in Southern Africa,” said Karin Karlekar with Freedom House.

Among other positives, the report points to better laws and a growing number of media outlets.

Overall, only 3 percent of sub-Saharan Africans have access to a “free” media. Fourteen percent have access to a “partly free” media. And 41 percent live in countries where the media is “not free.”​