IPDC project priority: Promoting Freedom of Expression and Media Pluralism

2012 is an election year in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Given the deep scars of the past, peace is fragile and the electoral period could see a relapse into violence if, inter alia, the people feel disenfranchised in any way. Access to credible and objective information is crucial. The country’s fledgling democracy still lacks the maturity to handle political tolerance there is therefore the need for a sustained media campaign. The media landscape is generally free as there is no blatant government interference, however a number of the media outlets, particularly the print media, are...

The number of journalists killed in Africa in the line of their duty, deliberately, in crossfire, and combat related circumstances has been increasing year in year out. According to the International News Safety Institute, some 199 journalists and media workers were killed in Africa between 1990 and 2006. In 2009 more journalists and associated media workers were killed than during the years before. Other journalists were attacked, arrested, injured, kidnapped or detained. These deadly attacks have brought to light that media houses in Africa do not have adequate policies and resources to...

The media in Botswana has over the years been relatively free, owing to adherence to democratic principles and the freedom of expression which is enshrined in its constitution. The thriving economy and democratic credentials of the country ave made the outside world oblivious of recent events that are regressive and are threatening the image of the country as a shining example of democracy. This has led to most donors seeing no need to assist civil society organizations in the country in facing these disturbing developments.
 
The media fraternity is however dominated by state...

Ever since the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) took over the leadership of the Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA) at the launch in Johannesburg in 2006, gender equality within the media has been a priority. The focus of the Union has been, among other issues, the reduction of sexual harassment cases, enhancement of the status of women journalists, promotion of active participation of women member journalists in union affairs, equal and fair remuneration of journalists, and the safety of journalists, especially female.
 
Although through ZUJ’s leadership, SAJA...

The Gabonese media landscape comprises a multiplicity of media organs and publications. Where the media is concerned, the National Communications Council is the main regulatory body. On the other hand, the process of self-regulation has yet to be firmly established. A self-regulatory body - the Gabonese Media Observatory - has existed since 2004, but its work has been limited due to a lack of self-regulation instruments which meet with the general approval of media professionals.
 
In 1995, following the liberalisation of the media landscape, a group of Gabonese journalists...

Since the end of 1994 genocide in which “hate” media played a major role both before and during the events, and following the liberalization of the airwaves in the late 2000s, Rwanda’s media landscape has seen tremendous change in terms of the number of media houses and the quality of the programmes. From overreliance on a single state owned media and a few government-controlled print media, the nation today boasts over 20 FM stations and one public TV channel, as well as over 40 newspapers, thanks to new laws on press issues, in particular law N°22/2009 of 12/08/2009 on Media. The...

In spite of continued attacks on press freedom experienced by Togo's press sector, the publication 'Liberté' has succeeded amid the adverse conditions, going from a weekly to a daily publication in the space of four years following its launch in 2005. Today, the publication seeks to further push the boundaries by developing its publishing and web capabilities in an effort to get closer to rural populations. At present, Liberté's attempts to reach out to the rural Togolese population are limited by the fact that it (as with most of Togo's press media) is based in the capital city of Lomé,...

In recent years the media environment in Equatorial Guinea has undergone a number of developments leading to greater freedom of expression and improved media freedom. However, unlike neighbouring countries which have witnessed a proliferation of media organizations, Equatorial Guinea has only two television channels, four radio stations, and a handful of newspapers which are not published on a regular basis. This is partly accounted for by a lack of trained media professionals, with less than 4% of those employed by the national television station (TVGE) having undergone university...

The Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region continues to rank poorly in terms of political rights, civil liberties and press freedom, with harassment and threats towards journalists and human rights defenders being a routine occurrence. Instead of improving, the situation is worsening with governments clamping down recently on online freedom of speech leaving journalists too afraid of retribution to report honestly and critically. The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) works actively to fight this oppression of freedom of expression by emphasizing organizational capacity-...

In the early 1980s and during the civil war, Lebanon saw rapid development of its radio, television and print media in both the public and private sector. Since this time however, no effort has been made to establish a national code of ethics to serve as a guideline for journalistic work. Media institutions in the country today are largely owned by or affiliated with political parties, and the absence of a code of ethics means that journalists are not protected and do not have freedom of expression. In the past decade, two initiatives of codes of ethics have been proposed by private...

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