Freedom of expression continues to be trampled upon by the Malawi regime as actor Thlupego Chisiza was arrested for staging a play critical of the government.
The play SEMO which was co-written by slain student activist Robert Chasowa
lampoons the DPP led governments handling of the economic, repressive laws that have retrogressed the country back to dictatorship and questions police role in stripping Malawians of their human rights.
Armed police arrested Chisiza when he was
performing the play with his Lions Theater in Blantyre claiming Chisiza did not pass it to the Board of Classification for vetting, a claim the playwright dismissed as untrue.
Arresting actors and performers show how insecure this government
is, Malawians must come together and defeat these threats to human rights, freedom and liberty, social-political activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire told Nyasa Times.
Performing arts in the country creates space where serious engagement with the
social issues surrounding liberty, freedom, human rights can be addressed, art gives people inspiration, hope and determination, it is a medium where people can get empowerment, Mkandawire added.
New player in South Africa's pay-TV market, TopTV, has announced that it had made an application to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) for permission to launch three adult content channels.
The latest bid to get porn on to
South African television screens follows leading pay-TV broadcaster MultiChoice who some while ago, decided to can its foray into adult TV after widespread objections from the public.
Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said depending on the nature of
the submissions, it may hold public hearings before it decides whether to give TopTV the go-ahead. Maleka said such a public hearing would most likely be held next month , but could not say when the process would be finalised.
TopTV last week
announced its intention to launch porn channels, while distancing itself from a company called African Satellite Installations, which had indicated that French porn channel PSatTV would soon be available in SA via the TopTV satellite.
holding company, On-Digital Media , said the porn channels would be separate from its bouquets and would carry a strictly enforced adult restriction. They would only be accessible as a secure, encrypted and separate subscription package on the pay-TV
platform. Potential subscribers would need to provide proof that they were over the age of 18, and viewing of the channels would require a unique, four-digit PIN code.
A spokesman said content for all three channels would be provided by Playboy
TV, with one being a soft porn channel and the other two having more raunchy content. It would cost R199 a month.
Some Christian organisations plan to boycott TopTV after it announced it would launch 24-hour pornography channels next year, said the Family Policy Institute.
The institute's director Errol Naidoo said:
Christian denominations and church affiliations support the view that the broadcasting of hardcore pornography on television degrades and objectifies women [strange, this is done so much more effectively by some religions] and exposes children to harmful
Millions of Christians will be encouraged to join the mass boycott of TopTV by not paying their subscription fees and cancelling their contracts with the pay channel.
TopTV's advertisers and sponsors
would also be targeted by the boycott, said Naidoo.
About six Christian organisations have affiliated themselves with the boycott, including the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and the Methodist Church of South Africa.
Interesting news from South Africa over the promise of the country's first hardcore satellite porn channels.
Porn Satellite Television (PSat) promises 24/7 hardcore adult television and says it will launch this January. The channel will be
broadcast on the Astra 4A satellite, which is also utilized by the mainstream channel, TopTV.
As a separate service, PSat subscribers will have to pay R99 a month for special equipment needed to access the channel.
According to iAfrica.com,
PSat originated in France and is broadcast from outside of South Africa.
There was previously there was a mainstream service suggesting that it could branch into porn, but the authorities were not having any of it, and the idea stayed on the
drawing board. Perhaps this new idea has more of a 'Red Hit Dutch' feel to the service.
Update: You can't broadcast porn...we want to do that
It did not take long for TopTV to express its opposition to the planned rollout of a 24/7 porn channel on the same Astra 4A satellite from which it broadcasts to South African subscribers.
TopTV is claiming that the PSat service is
illegal because it has not received permission to broadcast porn from South Africa's TV censor, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). TopTV said it is considering a lawsuit based on the alleged illegality of the planned
January launch. An PSat spokesperson, John Solomon, countered that TopTv does not have grounds for a lawsuit because PSat, which is an already existing French channel that wants to expand into South Africa, does not need to get permission from ICASA.
An ICASA spokesperson concurred that Solomon needs to get additional approval before its decoders can be distributed to the public.
But TopTV may have another reason for objecting to TopTV. According to iol.ca.za, the network has itself applied
to ICASA for permission to launch three Playboy subscription channels to its lineu
The TopTv application has already been publicly opposed by the country's censorship board, the Film and Production Board, whose spokesperson, Mlimandlela Ndamase,
said, We definitely will oppose the application in a manner similar to the way we did with MultiChoice when they wanted to launch a 24-hour pornography channel.
Authorities in northern Somalia banned two private broadcasters from operating in Puntland, blaming independent media coverage for undermining national security as they grapple with potentially destabilizing violence in the region, according to local
The Information Ministry in semi-autonomous Puntland banned the local operations of Universal TV and Somali Channel TV , accusing the stations of working with the peace haters who are always against the Puntland
security, according to CPJ's translation of the directive.
We condemn the ban on Universal TV and Somali Channel TV and call on Puntland authorities to reverse this arbitrary censorship order, said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes.
Accusations of carrying propaganda and undermining national security are clearly a pretext for silencing journalists who may deliver unwelcome news.
Kenyan MPs have accused the Film Classification Board and the Information ministry of failing to protect children from harmful and immoral content in videos and television programmes.
The accusations were directed at Information assistant minister
George Khaniri shortly after he admitted that the film board does not have enough staff to monitor the videos shown in cafe cinema's across Kenya.
Khaniri said the board would soon be employing staff to be deployed in the 47 counties to monitor
the content of videos shown in the popular screening rooms. He said the board is waiting for Sh17 million from the Treasury for that purpose and that those found showing the harmful, mostly pornographic, videos, would be arrested.
But MPs Gitobu
Imanyara and Jeremiah Kioni claimed the existing officers had not done enough to stop screening of immoral films. They were supported by Yusuf Chanzu and Dr Boni Khalwale who said the board has also failed to police the content on television.
Kenya's Communication Commission is set to impose a very restrictive watershed for radio and TV.
According to the CCK acting director general Francis Wangusi, the broadcast content advisory council has finalised the preparation of the new code of
Wangusi said the new code will restrict radio stations which broadcast adult discussions during morning hours while also stopping TV stations from showing 'inappropriate' shows during the day.
A draft broadcast code published by
the commission stipulates that all programmes broadcast between 5.00am and 10.00pm must be suitable for children.
The proposed code reads:
These are programmes or movies classified/rated as General
Exhibition (GE) or rated 10 by Kenya Film Censorship Board. The transition from family-oriented to a more adult programming after the watershed time of 10.00 PM shall be gradually executed,
The code states programmes that
requiring parental guidance and which has mild adult themes or content but may be of particular education or entertainment value to younger viewers should be aired after 10.00 PM. The programme should also be preceded by at least a five seconds advisory
warning that also includes their rating.
In July, two female journalists of the al-Jarida daily were sentenced to one month in prison for writing an article about the alleged rape of an activist by security forces. The security forces have categorically denied the rape allegations.
Security forces have now informed al-Jarida staff that it will no longer be allowed to publish, said editor-in-chief Saad el-Din Ibrahim.
They told us about a decision by security forces that the newspaper will be closed and its property will be confiscated. They didn't give a reason. Staff were told by them to take their personal belongings.
Algeria's censorship minister says 400 books were banned from the country's international book fair which has just opened.
Khalida Toumi said at a news conference that the law on importing books banned those supported colonialism, terrorism and
racism. Books attacking the national liberation struggle against France were also not allowed in.
Writer Andre P Brink, in his preface to this book, says that he had the dubious distinction of seeing his novel Kennis Van Die Aand ( Looking on Darkness ) pounced on as the first Afrikaans work of fiction to be banned ,
and then followed the censorship from the inside. He notes that as the machinations of censorship became pernicious and destructive , literature suffered. During the Seventies the Jacobsen's Index of banned publications was expanded to well more
than 20 000 titles, including hundreds of the greatest titles of world literature.
Kobus Van Rooyen takes the reader through the South African censorship history in 14 chapters. He starts with the moral clampdown (1963 to 1975) to where we are
Personally, I have no excuse for those pre-1980 times -- I cannot deny that I was involved in the decisions made, and I must confess that I was pondering whether we were not far too strict, Van Rooyen says about his initial days as
the youngest (then 33) member among older colleagues.
His endeavours in the Eighties of freeing South Africa from despotic censorship laws were diametrically opposed to conservative doctrine.
By 1985, he (as deputy dean of the law
faculty of the University of Pretoria moon-lighting as chairman of the Appeal Board) became aware of the daunting task that lay ahead of me, to free South Africa from the slavery of censorship .
However strongly autobiographical the
book is, it makes for interesting and often amusing reading about a dark period and the battle that had to be waged.
l Van Rooyen was chairman of the Publications Appeal Board from 1980 to 1990. He then served as chairman of the Press Council and
Broadcasting Complaints Commission (a position he still holds) and chaired the ministerial task group which drafted the new Films and Publications Act from 1994 to 1996.
Sudan will suspend six sports newspapers and issue warnings to three others, the national press council said, for supposed violations including encouraging violence between rival soccer teams, in the latest crackdown on the media.
Press Council will suspend the sports newspapers because they had violated journalistic standards and for administrative issues, which are damaging Sudan's reputation, its Secretary General El-Obeid Ahmed Morawah said. He cited the encouragement of
violence between competing football teams as one violation.
Reporters Without Borders and Avocats Sans Frontieres (Lawyers Without Borders) are delighted that the regional bimonthly Tribune d'Afrique is back on sale in Togo for the first time since a Lome court banned its distribution and sale a year ago in a
libel case brought by Mey Gnassingbe, the president's half-brother and a member of the president's office.
The resumption of distribution in Togo is the result of a 14 July decision by a Lome appeal court reducing the damages that Tribune
d'Afrique is supposed to pay from 60 90,000 euros to 15,000 euros and limiting the distribution ban to a period of three months which has already expired.
Reporters Without Borders and Avocats Sans Frontieres have been providing the magazine with
legal and moral support ever since the president's half-brother filed his lawsuit.
The magazine's lawyer, Jil-Benoit Kossi Afangbedji, who was engaged by Avocats Sans Frontieres, said he planned to take the case to Togo's highest appeal court with
the aim of getting the entire damages award overturned.
Sudan's government is considering introducing even more restrictions on the country's press..
The Sudanese National Assembly is considering introducing a new press and publications law that will further restrict freedom of expression in the North.
Sudan's National Congress Party (NCP) is contemplating enforcing pre-publication censorship as it did between 1989 and 2009. Following this, the government passed a new law, which it claimed was a step towards press freedom. However, despite the new law,
pre-publication censorship was selectively enforced by the regime during Sudan's 2010 elections.
The details of the proposed legislation have not been made available to the public.
A Tunisian appeal court has rejected a motion by the Tunisian Internet Agency to defer a lower court's May ruling making ATI responsible for blocking Tunisian internet users' access to pornographic websites.
One of the three lawyers who brought
the original case, Moneem Turki, told the news agency that the court of appeal confirmed the initial decision to censure all pornographic websites despite the ATI counsel having submitted proof that her organisation did not have the financial or
technical means to do so.
It had been argued that such websites should be filtered because they constituted a danger to young internet users and went against Moslem values.
Although ATI announced that it would file an appeal with the
highest court of appeal ( cour de cassation ), the agency is required to comply with the blocking immediately.
Ghana's Information Ministry is threatening to rein in supposedly errant television stations and movie makers by instituting a committee to censor the content and activities of Film makers.
A deputy Information Minister, Baba Jamal told Joy News
that the government would not remain unconcerned whilst pornography and violent content 'takeover' the screens and movie theatres: Generally the Ministry of Information is in charge of content and what goes out into the system. He said the
ministry will be seen as irresponsible if it remains a by-stander in the growing insanity on the airways, adding, in this situation we are bringing even the film people in; we are bringing everybody on board so that from the film acting to the
showing, [everything] will be sanitized.
Baba Jamal noted until the broadcasting law is put forward, the Information Ministry will take up the responsibility to ensure that what is fed the public through the media is wholesome.
In response to months of protests by Libyans living in Egypt, the authorities in Cairo on 11 July ordered Egypt's state-owned operator Nilesat to pull the plug on Libyan state TV satellite broadcasts to the Middle East and North Africa.
Egyptian court ruled that Nilesat should take 16 Libyan satellite channels off the air, the official MENA news agency reported. The barred channels carry sports and variety programming as well as news, current affairs and talk shows.
followed lawsuits filed by Libyan citizens and Egyptian lawyers who complained that Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi was using Libya's state TV channels to incite violence against rebels fighting to overthrow him. The complainants also accused the
channels of false reporting.
Deputy Information Minister, Baba Jamal, has criticized the quality and content of movies produced by filmmakers in Ghana.
Jamal expressed doubts about the genuineness of the lessons that were being imparted onto the society.
According to him,
Ghanaian movies in recent times have degenerated into a variety of filthy and unchallenging teaching materials which eventually pollute the minds of the vulnerable.
Jamal condemned what he calls explicit sexual themes in such movies and
said they were offensive to the viewing public. He also condemned the extreme emphasis on superstitious beliefs and spirituality which are often portrayed as the ultimate antidotes to people's problems.
Although the Information Ministry has a
Cinematograph Exhibition Board of Control charged to censor pornographic, violent and culturally unacceptable films, it has not been effective in its work.
Jamal disclosed that a Film Bill has been approved by Cabinet and will soon be passed into
law, to control and protect the activities of the Movie industry.
A Tunisian court has ordered porn sites to be re-blocked
Porn sites became accessible in Tunisia when censorship was lifted in January, following the collapse of the authoritarian regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, and quickly became among
the most popular websites visited by Tunisians.
Since censorship ended in January, seven porn sites have appeared among the 100 most visited websites in Tunisia, with five in the top 50, the Tunisian internet site Business News reports.
last week three lawyers filed a suit in a Tunisian court, claiming that pornographic websites were a danger to Tunisia's young people and ran contrary to Muslim values, Agence France-Presse reports. The court ordered the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) to
re-block all X-rated websites.
A renowned Tunisian blogger who was imprisoned during the country's Jasmine Revolution announced his resignation from the country's interim
government, apparently in protest over the resumption of internet censorship.
Slim Amadou, 23, minister for sport and youth, announced his decision on the Twitter social networking site: I confirm, I have resigned. Only the administrative
formalities remain, he wrote. He did not give any explanation.
However, later he had told the country's private Express FM he intended to resign, after authorities barred four users' accounts on social networking site Facebook. The government
was acting on the orders of a military tribunal, which ordered the accounts closed after the four Facebook users allegedly accused army chief of staff Rachid Ammar of plotting a coup.
Tanzania's Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports has banned the public showing of five local films, because they contravene with Tanzania's supposed cultural norms of human decency.
A statement issued by the Ministry said the Tanzania
Film Censorship Board inspected 45 films last month and decided to ban five films namely Mtoto wa Mama, Inye, Inye Plus, Inye Ndembendembe and Inye Gwedegwede. These films are blamed for plunging the country into cultural and moral decay.
The statement said:
The ministry through the film board has decided to ban films that focus on explicit sex, obscenity and pornography which government consider immoral and a bad influence especially on the
The Mtoto wa Mama film is in grade 'R' which means that it is not supposed to be shown anywhere at any time in the country because the movie is gay themed and features young boys actors in indecent
Inye, Inye Plus, Inye Ndembendembe and Inye Gwedegwede are in the same grade as they are comedy movies, which insult women with huge figures, suggesting that their movements arouse sexual
Sudanese security forces confiscated the entire Sunday edition of an independent newspaper, its editor said.
Sudan's constitution supposedly guarantees press freedom but several journalists have been detained without charge in recent months and papers
are often subject to direct censorship.
Police came after midnight and took all copies after we had printed it. They gave no explanation, said Osman Murghni, editor of Al-Tayar newspaper. He said authorities had not informed the newspaper
why the edition was taken and he said it was probably to show its disapproval of coverage of Monday's elections in South Kordofan.
The privately-owned Standard newspaper which was in 2010 banned by the Gambia authorities has been given the green-light to operate.
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that the decision was announced by the newly appointed
State House Press Secretary, Fatou Camara, during a rare interaction between President Yahya Jammeh and media owners and editors in the country.
The sources said following the lifting of the ban, Sheriff Bojang Snr., the editor of the Standard
which is published monthly, announced that the newspaper would reappear on the newsstands on April 1. However, the sources said the newspaper did not appear as announced.
Personnel of the notorious National intelligence Agency (NIA) on October
2010 acting on the orders of President Jammeh suspended the newspaper after it made its second appearance. The Standard in its maiden issue on August 2010 ran an article about former President Dawda Kairaba Jawara based on information from the book
authored by the editor.
The government of Swaziland has banned the daily live transmission of the BBC Focus on Africa programme after one of the news clips, broadcast on the English channel of the state radio, Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS), was
critical of the government.
The programme has been off air for the past week. The state radio has been running apologies to listeners of the programme for its absence, claiming that it is due to technical problems.
However, Members of
Parliament confronted the Minister for Information Communications and Technology (ICT), Nelisiwe Shongwe, for answers. The Minister conceded in Parliament that the programme has been temporarily suspended. She said the government has taken a decision to
censor the programme and said it would be back on air soon.
The breakaway republic of Somaliland has banned Universal Television, a private Somali satellite TV network based in London, from operating in Somaliland.
Ahmed Abdi Habsade, Somaliland's minister of communication and press, charged in a statement
that Universal TV, which is directed to the Somali-speaking community, had created clan-related conflicts and was acting against the existence of Somaliland.
Habsade accused Universal of broadcasting video footage showing 12 bodies that the
network said were killed by Somaliland military forces during clashes between Somaliland forces and local armed clan militias.
As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed.
Net monitoring and security firms are reporting that no net traffic is entering or leaving Libya. People inside the country are not be
able to send messages or browse sites either. Renesys said the outage was more than just a blip as many sites have been unreachable for more than 12 hours.
During the early days of the rebellion in Libya, net access was restricted but in
early March net traffic started to pick up in areas no longer under the control of Colonel Gaddafi's government. Graphs of net activity maintained by Google show a steady rise in traffic to its sites throughout this week. In particular, Libyans were
making heavy use of YouTube to post images of the conflict.
Book censorship relaxed in post revolution Tunisia
Tunisian bookshops changed dramatically after the January 14th revolution swept former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power. Books that were once banned and covertly brought into the country are now being displayed freely.
find a copy of La Régente de Carthage which exposes the corruption and influence of Leila Ben Ali on Tunisian political and economic life, student Suha Bin Mustapha told Magharebia at the El-Kitab bookstore in Tunis: I am now making
a request to reserve a copy that the owner said would be available by the end of the month.
Tunisia's interim government on January 22nd lifted licensing restrictions on the importation of books, publications and films, opening the floodgates
to foreign media. The constraints were imposed by the Ben Ali regime to control the flow of information.
Lifting restrictions on importing books is a key demand that has been called on by voices of enlightenment, modernity and the democracy of
culture and knowledge in Tunisia, said Moktar Kalfaoui, a writer for the website Alawan.
In the past, possessing these books meant persecution, losing a job, or even imprisonment, according to bookstore customer Nora.
In previous years,
the Tunisian International Book Fair earned a poor reputation because of strict censorship imposed on imported works, forcing exhibitors to focus on cookbooks and fiction.
The Tunisian culture ministry used to claim that it only prohibited books
that promoted religious extremism and terrorism. But there were several complaints from Arab and foreign publishers regarding the ban on political themes. In the end, many just didn't bother to attend the fair.
Journalists and technicians from Tunisia's state-run television broadcaster have gone on strike over continued government censorship.
We are on strike demanding an end to all the pressure and to stop the censorship, and to allow us to work
freely ... We will not accept restrictions anymore, one of the striking journalists told Reuters.
Tunisia's First National Television channel remained on air on Saturday, but without news programming.
First National's striking workers
are demanding new managers.
A major Ugandan mobile phone company has agreed to check, and if necessary block, SMS messages sent via its network during the country's ongoing presidential and parliamentary election, the company said.
The Uganda Communications Commission [UCC],
directed all telecom and bulk SMS service providers this week to start scrutinizing and blocking messages with words that are likely to incite violence during the country's tightly contested presidential and parliamentary polls.
government is trying to block the opposition from using cell phone messages and social networking sites to organize protests after the poll.
According to Khumalo, the work of filtering the messages is mainly for the bulk SMS service providers who
use MTN's facilities to transmit the messages. Some of the key words that have been singled out by the UCC include Tunisia, Egypt, Mubarak or Ben Ali.
Journaliste En Danger (JED) condemns the closure of Radio du Peuple Oicha, a community radio station operating in eastern DR Congo. JED demands that the authorities allow the radio station to re-open without conditions.
According to information
obtained by JED, Radio du Peuple Oicha was closed on 3 February 2011 until further notice on the orders of Maliamungu Sebuyange, deputy administrator of the territory. Sebuyange criticised the station for its coverage of the current insecurity in Beni
after it aired a live phone-in broadcast on 2 February, where callers denounced the safety situation in the region. Beni has recently been stricken by an upsurge in robberies and murders.
Listeners were only denouncing the current climate of
insecurity in the Beni territory, with no intention of offending the territorial authority, Jose Bashizi, programme director at Radio du Peuple Oicha, told JED.
Amnesty International calls on Sudan to release 16 people seized during a raid on a newspaper headquarters in Khartoum.
16 people, including nine members of staff working with the Communist party-affiliated newspaper Al-Midan, were arrested by
National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents.
The Sudanese government must immediately release all those detained during this blatant attempt to stifle free speech, said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty International's Africa
Program director: The people of Sudan have every right to peaceful protest without fear of arrest, assault and harassment. And the media have every right to freely report these events.
The Al-Midan newspaper was banned from distributing an
edition which carried reports covering protests in Khartoum inspired by those in Tunisia and Egypt. Opposition newspaper Ajrass Al Hurriya and independent Al Sahafa were also stopped from distributing similar reports.
A Nigerian was recently jailed for posting a curse on his Facebook profile about the governor of Jigawa.
Writing in the local Hausa dialect, Moukhtar Ibrahim Aminu asked for divine punishment to be delivered upon Governor Sule Lamido.
He was arrested and held for seven days for defamation.
His curse translates into English as: Allah curse Sule Lamido and all his useless friends. Allah make Sule Lamido and his friend useless, according to the U.K. Press
Association. Many people in the region believe that such curses can actually damage people for life.
Aminu was arrested at the request of the governor.
An amendment to Malawi's penal code, which became law last week, allows the government to ban any publication deemed contrary to public interest for an unspecified period of time, institutionalizing political censorship of the press, the Committee to
Protect Journalists said today.
The new law gives the information minister unchecked discretion to block a publication he or she deems against the public interest. Previously the law only prohibited importation of publications considered
The ability of a single political appointee to decide what newspapers, local or foreign, citizens read is against the public interest and is an assault on Malawi's constitutional guarantee of press freedom, said CPJ East Africa
Consultant Tom Rhodes. We call on parliament to repeal this arbitrary legislation immediately.
The new law follows threats by Mutharika to close down newspapers that criticize his administration. Authorities had failed in an attempt to ban
the tabloid Weekend Times in November over its frequent stories exposing fraud and sex scandals of public figures.
Meanwhile a far more important legal prohibition on farting
has captured the attention of the worlds press.
The Local Courts Bill, to be introduced next week reads: Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or
carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.
There seems to be a fair debate about whether this applies to farting or not.
Two of Malawi's most senior judicial officials are
arguing over whether a new bill includes a provision that outlaws breaking wind in public.
Justice Minister George Chaponda says the new bill would criminalise flatulence to promote public decency . Just go to the toilet when you feel
like farting, he told local radio.
However, he was directly contradicted by Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga, who says the reference to fouling the air means pollution. How any reasonable or sensible person can construe the
provision to criminalising farting in public is beyond me, he said, adding that the prohibition contained in the new law has been in place since 1929.
He was a brave and fiercely committed activist who led the Ugandan struggle for gay rights for more than a decade. David Kato went to jail for his beliefs, and to court, winning his greatest victory three weeks ago against a newspaper that had called for
him to be hanged.
But now he appeared to have paid the ultimate price: he had been battered to death with a hammer in his home in Kampala.
As distraught family and friends gathered at the scene, police said they had arrested a man hired to
drive for Kato and were pursuing another male suspect seen leaving the house. A police spokesman said the motive appeared to be robbery.
But given the fierce anti-gay campaigns launched in recent years by some religious leaders and journalists, as
well as politicians who drafted laws to have gay people locked up for life or even executed, there are inevitable questions as to whether Kato was killed because of his sexuality.
A Ugandan man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of gay rights activist David Kato.
Sidney Nsubuga Enoch admitted to killing Kato with a
hammer. But he was only convicted of second-degree murder, having claimed that he acted in self-defense. Enoch told the court Kato was making sexual advances, and that he had no choice but to kill him.
Tunisia's previously banned and popular rappers are now able to step out of the virtual world and onto the stage.
Hassled by the authorities and scorned by producers, the artists who gave voice to the anger that spilled into protests that toppled
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali are now courted by music houses and making videos in plain sight.
Hamada Ben Amor, better known on the web as El General, was arrested on January 5 at the height of the wave of unrest that has come to be known as the
Jasmine Revolution. He spent several days in detention.
He had shot to Internet fame with the song President, your people are dead , a dig at Ben Ali's corruption-accused authoritarian dictatorship that became an anti-establishment anthem
Amor said he has since received recording offers from international and national production houses. The young rapper has also been invited to perform on Saturday at the 10,000-seater El Menzah stadium close to Tunis.
billed for the show is another performer who had until recently been only virtual, the thoroughly more inflammatory Mohammed Jandoubi, alias Psyco-M, who was Tunisia's number one Net rapper last year. He controversially pushes the theory of a
US-Zionist plot to destroy Islam. He questions the morals of Tunisian television and cinema personalities, attacking those in miniskirts dressed like Naomi Campbell and has already earned himself a charge of defamation earlier this month.
Tunisia has arrested the owner of a TV station and his son for grand treason for inciting violence and working for ousted leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's return.
The owner of Hannibal
TV (Larbi Nasra], who is a relative of the former president's wife, is using the channel to abort the youth's revolution, spread confusion, incite strife and broadcast false information.
The aim is to create a
constitutional vacuum, ruin stability and take the country into a vortex of violence that will bring back the dictatorship of the former president.
The Tunisian news agency said Nasra and his son had been arrested to secure
the nation's safety and the revolution's success .
Police in Kampala arrested the director and editor of the monthly newsmagazine Summit Business Review in connection with a caricature of President Yoweri Museveni that appeared on the cover of the October issue.
Director Samuel Sejjaaka and
Editor Mustapha Mugisha were released on bond but face continued interrogations, Sejjaaka told CPJ.
Police raided the magazine's office, confiscated Mugisha's computer, and detained the editor, Sejjaaka said. When Sejjaaka came to the police
station to inquire as to Mugisha's status, the director was detained for refusing to write out a police statement, he told CPJ.
No charges have been brought. Police told Sejaaka the caricature embarrassed the president. The cover of the
magazine's October edition featured a cartoon of Museveni blowing out the candle on a cake in the shape of Uganda for the country's 48th Independence Day celebrations. The cartoonist, Fred Senoga Makubuya, is based in the United States, Mugisha told CPJ.
Police would not explain why they were taking action three months after the edition was published, although officers noted the caricature was being used by opposition candidates in campaign rallies, the journalists told CPJ. Security agents also
pulled down roughly 10 advertising billboards in Kampala that displayed the cartoon, according to local journalists.
The arrest of two independent journalists just one month before elections is deeply disturbing, said CPJ East Africa
Consultant Tom Rhodes. Public figures in a democracy should not resort to the police to shield themselves from media criticism. All legal action against Samuel Sejjaaka and Mustapha Mugisha should be dropped immediately.
Gambian authorities have shut the only independent radio station in the nation that has continued to broadcast news, according to local journalists.
Taranga FM was one of the last independent voices in the Gambia.
Agency officials summoned Ismaila Ceesay, managing director of Taranga FM, a community radio station based in Sinchu Alhagie village, southwest of Banjul, for interrogation and ordered the station off the air until further notice, local journalists said.
Journalists told CPJ the ban was in reprisal for the station's news review program in which local newspaper stories were read on the air in English and local languages. It was unclear what story or stories prompted the ban.
the closure of Taranga FM, the Gambia confirms its status as one of Africa's most censored countries, said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita: Radio is a vital source of news in Africa, but listeners in the Gambia can now hear only a
government mouthpiece. The authorities should restore Taranga FM and all independent broadcasts to return to air.
Even while under curfew following the ousting of their long-serving authoritarian leader, Tunisians are experiencing newfound freedoms online as their acting president promised a new phase for his embattled land.
Filters on websites like
Facebook and YouTube, put in place under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, were dropped and Internet speed picked up considerably -- a development that followed the new government's vow to ease restrictions on freedoms.
In addition, three
Tunisian journalists -- including two bloggers critical of Ben Ali -- have been freed from jail, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said.
These developments come as Fouad Mebazaa was sworn in as the country's acting leader on Saturday, after
Ben Ali and his family took refuge in Saudi Arabia following days of angry street protests against the government.
A group of Ugandans identified as homosexual in a newspaper article headlined Hang Them have won damages and a court injunction ordering the paper not to repeat the exercise, human rights groups have said.
A high court judge ruled that the
story in the Rolling Stone newspaper, which printed addresses and photographs of some of the 100 people it named as Uganda's top homos , violated their constitutional rights to privacy and safety. The court awarded the three plaintiffs in
whose names the case was launched just over £400 each in damages, the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda said in a statement.
The front page of Rolling Stone claimed that the country's homosexual
community aimed to recruit 1,000,000 children by 2012 , and that parents face heart-breaks [sic] as homos raids schools . Inside, a headline read: Hang them; They are after our kids!!