News / Africa

For Africa Media Leaders, Press Freedom Isn't Top Concern

Mourners carry the body of Somali journalist Mohamed Mohamud who was killed after being shot six times by gunmen, Oct. 27, 2013.
Mourners carry the body of Somali journalist Mohamed Mohamud who was killed after being shot six times by gunmen, Oct. 27, 2013.
Marthe van der Wolf
African media leaders concluded a three-day conference in Ethiopia Friday, where press freedom was not on top of the conference agenda, even though many journalists on the continent face restrictions and repression.

Conference organizers said their core focus was on business development, technology innovation, and leadership and ethics. They believe discussions on the business side of media will automatically result in debates on press freedom.

Alison Bethel of the International Press Institute finds it worrisome that the African Media Leaders Forum did not prioritize the issue of press freedom.

“There needs to be more time dedicated to the issue," she said, "because besides from business models and licensing and other things that are crucial to the media here, press freedom also is a very, very important part of doing business.”

There was a one-hour side event organized on the practices and challenges of press freedom in Africa. Journalists from different countries shared their experiences of being harassed, detained and threatened for trying to do their job.

The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the media leaders to address repression in Ethiopia, where the conference is being held. Last week, two Ethiopian journalists were detained for about six days without charges after reporting on local corruption. 

More than 75 media publications have been closed in Ethiopia in the past 20 years and seven journalists are currently imprisoned on charges of terrorism.

Amare Aregwi, managing editor of Ethiopia’s largest English newspaper, The Reporter, says his media colleagues on the continent can also play a role in improving press freedom in Ethiopia:

“They can advise you, share their experiences and train you in such things," Aregwi said. "Sometimes, you don’t find people or the government being ready to listen. On the other side also, some of the international media enjoy criticizing and ridiculing rather than helping.”

Twenty-eight journalists died on the African continent in 2012, with Somalia being the deadliest country. Twelve African countries have passed freedom of information bills, but they include countries such as Ethiopia and Uganda, which are regularly accused of cracking down on media practitioners.

The Doha Center for Media Freedom reported that more than 150 journalists from Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan have been forced into exile since 2008.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ike wilson from: frederick md
November 11, 2013 9:40 AM
Press freedom cannot and should not be underestimated when it comes to unearthing what ails Africa - rampant corruption that pervades every facet of government, and close-minded "leaders" and supervisors who do not realize keep their people in destitute status. Taking bribes at nearly every facet of government reduces living conditions for all.

When I tried to buy a light bulb in Liberia, the merchant tried 5 bulbs that did not work, the 6th worked. Did he throw the damaged bulb in the trash? No! He put it back on the shelf for an unsuspecting citizen to buy later. Are there commerce inspectors who will crack down on that kind of fraud, or will a bribe cause them to allow their fellow citizens to continue to be subjected to this kind of behavior? Just one example of thousands!


by: Anonymous
November 09, 2013 6:17 AM
The truth will appear soon i


by: Jacob Ndhlovu
November 08, 2013 12:46 PM
Core focus on business development, what about the plight of countless people who have lost their lives and liveliehoods in countries where justice has totally collapsed and the world looks on and is still looking on.

In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 09, 2013 2:41 AM
Could not agree more!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid