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26th December   

Dangerous Play...

Actor arrested for staging a play critical of the Malawi goverment
Link Here

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.


14th December   

Updated: TopPorn...

Another South African satellite service applies to start porn channels
Link Here
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel

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.

TopTV's 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.

Update: The Inevitable Nutter Boycott

14th December 2011. See  article from

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:

The 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 content.

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.


9th December   

Updated: Porn Satellite Television...

A South African hope for the country's first adult satellite channel
Link Here
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel

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, 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

9th December 2011.  See  article from

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, 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.


6th November   

Unwelcome News...

Somalia bans 2 TV channels
Link Here

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 news reports.

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.


1st November   

Understaffed, Underfunded, Underfire and Unloved...

Kenyan film censors come under fire for failing to stop 'immoral' films
Link Here

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.


15th October   

Suitable for 10 Year Olds...

Kenya TV censors set to impose a very restrictive watershed on radio and TV
Link Here

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 conduct.

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.


3rd October   

Update: Confiscated...

Authorities close Sudanese daily newspaper
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

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.

Update: Another

30th October 2011. See  article from

The editor of the Arabic daily newspaper Alwan told Reuters that security agents arrived late on Saturday's night and banned the title from distributing its Sunday edition.

According to Alwan's editor, Ahmed Younis, no reason was given for the ban.

They told us the edition would be confiscated. Until now I have no ideas why they did that. I think they just want put pressure on the publisher, editor Ahmed Younis said.


22nd September   

Children's Books Only?...

Algiers Book Fair is missing 400 banned books
Link Here

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.


21st September   

Review: A South African Censor's Tale...

By Kobus van Rooyen
Link Here

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 today.

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.


15th September   

Update: Bottom of the Reputation League...

Sudan bans sports papers supposedly for encouraging violence between rival fans
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

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.

The National 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.


9th September   

Update: Ongoing Censorship...

Regular seizures of Sudanese newspaper Al-Maydan
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

On Sunday, Sudanese security forces confiscated issues of Al-Maydan, the bi-weekly mouthpiece of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP).

According to the newspaper, this is the sixth time in the last four months that copies have been confiscated.

Update: More

16th September 2011. See  article from

Al-Sahafa, a Sudanese independent newspaper, was confiscated by security forces on Wednesday, and the Thursday edition was also held from distribution, according to editor Annur Ahmed Annur.


2nd September   

Newspaper Appeal...

Banned newspaper resumes in Togo after libel damages substantially reduced
Link Here

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.


20th August   

Update: Easier Said then Done...

Tunisian court confirms requirement for ISPs to block all porn sites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

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.


12th August   

Update: Security Censors...

Sudanese newspaper seized by security forces
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

On August 8, issues of Al-Ahdath , a Sudanese daily newspaper, were confiscated by security forces.

Officials have yet to provide an explanation for the confiscation. Previously, officials pressured the editor of Al-Ahdath to retract articles written about violence in South Sudan.


6th August   

Insanity on the Airways...

Ghana's government set to censor film and TV
Link Here

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.


17th July   

Satellite Spring...

Egypt pulls the plug on Gaddafi's Libyan TV channels
Link Here

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.

An 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.

The ruling 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.


6th June   

Culturally Unacceptable...

Ghana minister whinges about films and speaks of new censorship bill
Link Here
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.


7th May   

It's Not Over Yet for Morally Decayed Tanzania...

Film censor bans the fat lady from singing
Link Here

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 youth.

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 dresses.

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 temptations.


7th May   

Update: Stolen News...

Sudan seizes all copies of a Sunday newspaper
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

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.


13th April   

Censorship Standard...

Previously censored Gambian newspaper cleared to publish again
Link Here

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.


28th February   

Update: Books Unbound...

Book censorship relaxed in post revolution Tunisia
Link Here

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.

I couldn't 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.


15th February   

Criticism Silenced...

DR Congo radio station closed after phone-in criticism of poor security
Link Here

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.


9th February   

Update: Causing Unrest...

Sudanese newspaper censorship in fear of Tunisia/Egypt style uprisings
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

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.


7th February   

A Useless Curse...

Nigerian arrested for cursing his state governor on Facebook
Link Here

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.


5th February   

Something Stinks in Malawi...

New law to ban publications against the 'public interest'
Link Here

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 seditious.

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.

I fart in your general direction

Based on article from

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.


30th January   

Update: Foreign Media Censor...

Tunisia dismantles part of Ben Ali's censorship regime
Link Here

Tunisia has disbanded an agency which acted as an effective censor of foreign media during the rule of ousted president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali.

The External Communications Agency will be replaced by an independent body that will help coordinate with foreign media but will not interfere in their output.

The move is part of the interim government's efforts to roll back the restrictive policies of Ben Ali, who strictly controlled the media during his 23-year rule.


24th January   

Update: Wrong Sided...

Owner of Tunisian TV station arrested for supporting deposed president
Link Here

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.

Sources said:

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 .


17th January   

Huffing and Puffing...

Police arrest newspaper bosses over caricature of Ugandan president
Link Here

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.


17th January   

Radio Silence...

Gambian authorities shut down the only independent radio station
Link Here

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.

National Intelligence 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.

With 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.


16th January   

Tunisia Unblocked...

Bloggers freed and websites unblocked in early days of a new interim administration
Link Here

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.

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