2017 cannot be described as the best year for journalists as 262 were arrested for doing their jobs. 66 of the arrested journalists are from 14 African countries, according to journalist rights group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
20 journalists were arrested in Egypt alone, the highest on the African continent followed by Eritrea where 15 journalists are behind bars.
Uganda jailed 8, followed by Ethiopia (5), Democratic Republic of Congo (5), Morocco (4), Algeria (2), Somalia (1), Republic of Congo (1), Equatorial Guinea (1), Cameroon (1), Nigeria (1), Niger (1) and Mauritania (1).
Journalist Ahmed Abba has been in detention in #Cameroon since July 30, 2015, on false terrorism charges. He will be in court December 21 for his appeal verdict. Join @pressfreedom to demand his release and say #JournalistsNotTerrorists – https://t.co/ha6kcNFTCp pic.twitter.com/xMI9gUdRM3
— CPJ Africa (@CPJAfrica) December 15, 2017
Most of the Egyptian and Moroccan journalists arrested this year have been accused of being anti-State agents due to their reportage.
The Ugandan journalists were imprisoned for defamation while the Mauritanian journalist was charged with blasphemy. Some of the Egyptian journalists behind bars and the Somali journalist were charged with the spread of fake news while those in the rest of the countries were not charged at all.
#Congo: Thrown in a cell with no consideration for his rights, Ghys Fortuné Bemba has been detained without charge for over 300 days in #Brazzaville. CPJ’s 2017 census shows the struggles journos in Africa and around the world face simply for their work. https://t.co/H2L1S32Rqb pic.twitter.com/yYfYYHIO3V
— CPJ Africa (@CPJAfrica) December 17, 2017
The reason for their arrest is clearly linked to their work as journalists in these countries noted for having strong opposition to dissent. These journalists are still alive and fighting for their freedom.
42 journalists lost the fight after they were murdered in the line of duty. Two of them are from Africa including Somalia’s Abdullahi Osman Moalim and Ali Nur Said who were killed in a crossfire while working.
CPJ says Egypt is part of the worst three jailers of journalists in 2017 including Turkey and China reflecting “a dismal failure by the international community to address a global crisis in freedom of the press”.
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