It wasn’t all rosy for journalists and media organisations in Africa in 2016. Some died while others excelled. Some were attacked and others arrested.
A RFI correspondent arrested since July 2015 for suspected links with Boko Haram was charged with terrorism in a military court.
Egypt sentenced a TV presenter for libel against a sexual assault victim on air, and later sentenced a blogger to three years in prison after suspending a TV show on which he alleged that married Egyptian women cheat on their spouses.
In Ivory Coast, the director of the national television was suspended for not covering the deadly Grand Bassam attack.
A Gambian journalist standing trial for sedition escaped from a hospital where he was receiving treatment after he had been in jail since June last year.
The media in Egypt were shocked by the police who stormed their union office building and arrested some journalists for inciting protests. Uganda also banned live coverage of any protest against President Yoweri Museveni’s reelection.
It wasn’t fatal in South Africa but very intense after the country’s public broadcaster came under fire for issuing a notice against coverage of protests.
Two top Zambian newspaper editors were arrested for allegedly defaulting in tax payment after their media was shut down a week earlier. In Guinea, a journalist was assaulted by presidential guards while covering President Alpha Condé‘s meeting at the ruling party offices.
A Mauritanian journalist was sentenced to 3 years in prison for throwing a shoe at a minister after calling him a liar, while in Ghana, the Supreme Court jailed two radio panelists and a presenter for threatening judges on air.
A Burundian journalist disappeared after an alleged arrest while another journalist in the country was named the 2016 Peter Mackler Award recipient for his commitment to asserting the right to air his stories where independent media is under threat.
The media was affected during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s anti-Kabila protests as RFI and Radio Okapi signals were jammed. Two Congolese journalists were also arrested after airing opposition leader Moise Katumbi’s interview.
Also in South Sudan, a 28-second audio of opposition leader Riek Machar resulted in the shutdown of a private radio station.
The killing of journalists xas felt in Congo when a state television reporter was shot dead at his home. In Egypt, the press union president and two others were sentenced to two years in prison for harbouring fugitives.
Anglophone journalists in Cameroon hit back at government against censorship during protests in the two anglophone regions of the country.
At the end of the year, Egypt arrested an Al-Jazeera journalist and charged him with involvement to overthrow the government. Sudanese media also protested against confiscation of newspaper copies by authorities resulting in financial losses.