News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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Africanews staff

When the staff of Africanews decided late last year that this month’s theme should be the situation of the media in Africa, little did we know how timely and urgent this coverage would be. Even as we were gathering stories and information, Brian Ligomeka, our stringer in Malawi since 1998, e-mailed us to tell us that he had been picked up and interrogated by Malawian police for three hours on January 7 because of critical stories he had written about the government of Malawi. This is approximately five months after a group of youth aligned with the government broke his jaw for writing such stories. “Although I fear for my life, my conscience is clear and my mind is free,” Brian wrote to us in a follow-up e-mail on January 12. “I write the truth and as a journalist, I always know that sometimes we have to suffer for writing the truth.”

In our riveting cover story, Brian recounts the price he and others have had, and continue to pay to exercise one of the most fundamental human rights: freedom of the Press. If you are concerned about the treatment that Brian received, please make your views known to Oliver Soko, Malawi Police Service spokesperson, tel. + 265 839 514, or the chief information officer of the Malawi government, +265 940 362, e-mail: .

The situation in Zimbabwe is also on the edge. On the day before we headed to press, The Daily Nation in Kenya carried a small item about a Zimbabwe journalist, Dingilizwe Ntuli, who had fled the country after President Robert Mugabe had called him a terrorist on national television. Our correspondent in Zimbabwe, Rodrick Mukumbira, gives us a blow-by-blow description of a draconian media bill, introduced January 8, that would, among other things, allow the Zimbabwe government to solely decide who can work as a journalist and which newspapers are allowed to publish. Observers warn that this will effectively silence the media in the months following up to an election widely expected to be violent and rigged, reports Mukumbira.

Swaziland, Botswana, and Kenya are other African countries in which the media are contending with proposed legislation that will clamp down on their activities. AFRICANEWS Swaziland correspondent James Hall reports that in Swaziland and Botswana, proposed legislation calling for the governments to set up media councils has led to fears that the governments will use these codes to restrict the free flow of information. In Kenya, a media bill that is seeking to change the Books and Newspapers Act and the Films and Stage Plays Act will prohibit the screening of films, television programs, advertisements and stage plays without the approval of the government, reports correspondent Brian Adeba.

Also offered within the media theme is a piece by Ghanaian correspondents Amos Safo and Sam Sarpong on the quality of media in Ghana, and a look at foreign programming on Zambian airwaves, written by Zambian correspondent Benedict Tembo.

In other coverage, Africanews staff writer Matthias Muindi gets up close and personal as he describes the real reasons why leaders of two south Sudan rebel groups decided to kiss and make up at this time after over a decade of bitter in-fighting. In a separate story, he also looks at the politics surrounding the construction of a dam in northern Sudan.

Africanews would like to wish our readers a very happy, prosperous, and blessed 2002! We would also like to remind our readers in Kenya and Ethiopia of the upcoming “Energheia Africa Teller” literary competition. The deadline for that is April 15, 2002. See inside the issue for more details.

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