After this year’s World Press Freedom Day which took place across the globe on the 3rd of May, there is need for a bit of stock-taking on which parts of the world that are still very dangerous for the practice of journalism.
In Africa, the World Press Freedom Day was celebrated in Ghana where journalists gathered in honour of their profession. In most parts of the continent, journalists are facing hazards on a daily basis in the line of duty. However, there are some countries that studies have shown are the deadliest places to work as a journalist. The article below gives insight on such countries. Here is a list of the top 10 most dangerous places to practice journalism in Africa.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries in Africa To Work As A Journalist
This year’s global theme is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’, and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public.
Hundreds of journalists across the world die annually trying to ‘keep the power in check’ and the scenario is even more deadly in the cradle of mankind.
In Africa, tens of journalists are harassed, abused, attacked and even killed in their line of work.
Here are ten most dangerous countries to work as a journalist in Africa.
#10. D.R. Congo
Ranked at position 154 out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most dangerous places to work as a journalist.
Journalists on daily basis have to undergo threats, physical attacks, abductions, arrests in a country engulfed in one crisis after another.
Cases of prolonged detention targeting journalists are common occurrence and almost never investigated.
If the government doesn’t get you, the rebels will.
Under President Joseph Kabila, who has clung to power since 2006, at least 11 journalists have been murdered without consequence for the perpetrators.
Radio stations that interview government opponents are often shut down or ransacked.
The authorities often disconnect the Internet or block access to social networks and of late, they have also targeted the international media, jamming Radio France Internationale’s local transmissions in Kinshasa for nine months.
The land of a thousand hills is not a walk in the park for journalists.
Despite a new media law in 2010 and efforts to develop Internet connections throughout the country, censorship and self-censorship are ubiquitous in Rwanda.
In 2015, the government banned BBC radio broadcasting in the local Kinyarwanda language after a BBC TV documentary referred to the deaths that took place during the advance on Kigali in 1994 led by Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s current president.
There have been fewer abuses against journalists in recent years because most of the outspoken journalists have either fled abroad or have learned to censor themselves.
It is ranked at position 156 with a score of 52.90 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index
Press freedoms has been sharply deteriorating since the May 2015 coup attempt.
Journalists find it hard to work freely and are often harassed by security forces which are encouraged by an official discourse associating non-aligned media with enemies of the nation.
Authorities do not hesitate to summon news editors to “correct” their stories and as a result dozens of journalists have fled the country and many are charged with being complicit in the coup attempt.
Jean Bigirimana, a journalist working for both Iwacu Press Group and Infos Grand Lacs went missing in July 2016 and has not been seen nor his body found up to today.
It is ranked at position 159 out of 180 countries with a score of 55.26 in the 2018 world rankings.
The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) dubs the country “one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists”.
With at least 20 journalists behind bars in relation to their work, Egypt is among the world’s top three jailers of journalists.
The Internet is the only place left where independently reported news and information can circulate, but more than 400 websites have been blocked since the summer of 2017 and more and more people are being arrested because of their social network posts.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Egypt 161st out of 180 countries in its press freedom index.
Ravaged by a four year war which has seen what was once Africa’s strongest economy sunk to its knees, Libya is one of the most dangerous places in the world today to work as a reporter.
In December 2017, the world was treated to distressing scenes of men appearing to be sold at auction in Libya for $400 showing just how lawless the country has sunk to since the demise of Muammar Gaddafi.
It is ranked at position 162 out of 180 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
Decades of instability, non-existence government, corruption and extremism have created ample room for somali Journalists to be persecuted by both the government and the Al-Shabaab militia.
Those who refuse to toe the line and censor themselves are the targets of bombings or shootings by Al-Shabaab militants, or they are exposed to arbitrary detention and torture.
At least four journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2017, and several others were injured in terrorist attacks.
It is ranked at position 168 out of 180 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
#4. Equatorial Guinea
Ruled by one of Africa’s longest serving dictators, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema for close to four decades, Equatorial Guinea has all the ‘trappings and luxuries’ of an authoritarian state.
Tight control of the media and press censorship are the norm, it is impossible to criticize the president and the security forces.
Any content that does not appease to Mr. Obiang or risk giving Equatoguineans some ‘funny’ ideas are also banned.
Media coverage of the Arab spring, the fighting in Mali and Syria, and the fall of Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaoré was banned.
Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist who often satirizes President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, was arrested in September 2017 and was held for five months on trumped-up charges.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Equatorial Guinea 171 out of 180 countries in its press freedom index.
No privately-owned or independent media outlet operates within the country.
The only independent media outlet, La Voix de Djibouti broadcasts from Belgium but its publication is blocked online and its signal is often jammed.
Journalists in Djibouti live under constant fear of judicial harassment, illegal searches, and exorbitant fines resulting in detention for non-payment.
It is ranked at position 173 out of 180 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
18 journalists, including the correspondents of foreign media, were arrested at the beginning of this year while covering opposition protests.
An independent radio station was shut down, and two journalists were banned from practicing their profession for a year.
That is the life of a journalist in Sudan.
As a result it is ranked at position 174 out of 180 in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
This tiny country in the horn of Africa holds the ‘crown’ for being the most repressive government in the continent and there is no room for freely reported news and information.
The only independent and politically non-partisan radio station providing Eritreans with freely reported news and information is Radio Erena, which is run by Eritrean exile journalists based in Paris, but its signal is often jammed in Eritrea.
At least 11 journalists are currently detained without being charged or tried.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Eritrea just above North Korea at position 179 out of 180 countries in its press freedom index.