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Notes to broadcasters: Media and press freedom

The suppression of free speech is a serious topic in any society that considers itself to be a democracy. Unfortunately, many African countries cannot claim to have either a free press or a well-functioning democracy.

The Press Freedom Index and the Democracy Index rate countries for which measurable statistics are available. They can be found through these links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index [1], and http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html [2]; and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index [3]

This week’s story is based on several stories from the internet. The main sources are “Uganda lifts ban on Daily Monitor newspaper and two radio stations” (Deutsche Welle, May 30, 2013: http://www.dw.de/uganda-lifts-ban-on-daily-monitor-newspaper-and-two-radio-stations/a-16850135 [4]); “Monitor, Red Pepper closures spark protests in Uganda” (CPJ, May 29, 2013: http://www.cpj.org/2013/05/monitor-red-pepper-closures-spark-protests-in-ugan.php#more [5]); and “Uganda’s Daily Monitor reopens after police closure” (BBC, May 30, 2013: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22717291 [6]).

An article on this subject by Daily Monitor journalist Yasiin Mugurwa in the UK-based Independent newspaper (Voices in Danger: Closure of the Daily Monitor bodes ill for Africa’s press freedoms, June 5, 2013), can be read through this link: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/voices-in-danger-closure-of-the-daily-monitor-bodes-ill-for-africas-press-freedoms-8646256.html [7]

An article by Mohamed Matovu laments the actions of the judiciary (“Uganda: Monitor Closure – Judiciary, Govt Erred,” May 30, 2013). It can be sourced through this address: http://allafrica.com/stories/201305310381.html [8]

The decision of the Burundi government to pass the 2013 Press Law has been covered by many news agencies: “UN slams Burundi media law” (IOL, June 6, 2013: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/un-slams-burundi-media-law-1.1527972#.UbB3dZyBbEU [9]); and “Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza approves media law” (BBC, June 4, 2013: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22770792 [10]) are but two. There is an open letter from the Committee to Protect Journalists to the President of Burundi here: http://www.cpj.org/2013/04/cpj-urges-burundi-to-reject-restrictive-media-law.php [11]

Farm Radio Weekly is committed to free speech and press freedom. Notes to broadcasters from issue #244 (April 2013, World Press Freedom Day) are available through this link: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/04/29/notes-to-broadcasters-world-press-freedom-day/ [12]

To view a bank of resources on freedom of expression for journalists, made available for download from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, follow this link: http://www.wan-ifra.org/articles/2013/03/28/materials-to-download [13]