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The East African : May 10th 2015
18 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY East Africans love free media most Af≥oba≥omete≥ study shows that 62 pe≥ cent in the ≥egion favou≥ a p≥ess independent of gove≥nment cont≥ol By TREVOR ANALO The EastAfrican ence, says a new report by Afrobarometer, an African-led non-partisan research network. The study, released ahead of E World Press Freedom Day last week, highlights everyday Africans’ news habits and attitudes regarding media freedom, media trustworthiness and the effectiveness of the media in holding governments accountable. It found that 62 per cent of East Africans support a press independent of government control, followed by Southern Africans (58 per cent), North Africans (58 per cent) and West Africans (53 per cent). At 80 per cent, Ugandans are the strongest advocates of media freedom in East Africa, followed by Tanzanians (73 per cent), Burundians (68 per cent) and Kenyans (59 per cent). In addition, a solid majority of East Africans, 76 per cent, say their media have been effective in investigating and exposing government excesses and corruption. The rest of the regions average between 60 per cent and 64 per cent. But here, Tanzanians lead the region, with 84 per cent saying the ast Africans lead the continent in supporting media independ- media have been effective in playing a watchdog role by reporting on government mistakes and corruption. Next are Ugandans at 83 per cent, Burundians (79 per cent) and Kenyans (78 per cent). But even as these findings give a positive outlook on press freedom in East Africa, events in recent years show the governments have become increasingly intolerant of an unfettered media. Authorities in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania have attempted to limit press freedom through restrictive media laws and closing of critical news outlets to “curtail journalists’ ability to gather and report the news,” the report says. Free to report In reaction to the violence that has gripped Burundi over President Pierre Nkurunzinza’s bid for a controversial third term, authorities have restricted the work of independent radio stations and blocked access to social media. According to the report, 57 per cent of Africans say the media must be free to report without government interference while a solid majority, (69 per cent), endorse a “watchdog” role for the media, saying it should “constantly investigate and report on government Journalists cover a function. Picture: File mistakes and corruption.” Ugandans (86 per cent) and Cape Verdeans (83 per cent) are the strongest supporters, followed by Mauritians (81 per cent). In contrast, just 30 per cent of respondents from Senegal, 37 per cent from Cameroon, 40 per cent from Mali and 47 per cent from Liberia favour a media free of government control. In other countries — such as Algeria, Swaziland and Lesotho — more than 50 per cent do not support an “investigative” media. The media gets its highest rat- ings in Mauritius (88 per cent), Tanzania (84 per cent), Uganda (83 per cent) and Ghana (82 per cent) for being an effective watchdog. However, the majority of Zimbabweans (51 per cent) rate their media as “not at all effective,” as do Cote d’Ivoiriens (48 per cent), Sudanese (47 per cent) and Madagascans (44 per cent). Unverified information While on average a slim majority (51 per cent) believe that the media never publishes unverified information, the 43 per cent of Africans who do not support a free press ostensibly do so because more than one-third (36 per cent) of them say the media abuses its reporting privileges by publishing “things it knows are not true.” The EastAfrican NEWS MAY 9-15,2015 Cybe≥-c≥ime law causes ≥ights jitte≥s By CHRISTOPHER KIDANKA The EastAfrican THE TANZANIA Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRD) has said it will go to court over the Cyber Crime Act, which President Jakaya Kikwete assented to on April 25. Rights groups say it will infringe on civil and political liberties. The new law seeks to seal loop- holes in the country’s weak cyber regulatory framework, which has allowed criminals to operate illegal businesses, according to the government. Among other things, it will also control online fraud, hacking, child pornography, espionage and hate speech. But some analysts say the law is part of a broader plan by the government to restrict civil and political liberties ahead of the presidential election later this year as the authorities may manipulate a clause that makes it an offence to spread “unsolicited messages.” New law before elections A government official familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity, said the new law had to pass before this year’s elections to help the authorities stop the spread of hate speech and circulation of false election results, which could put the country at risk. Onesmo ole Ngurumwa, who works for THRD, told The EastAfrican that they will “soon go to court” to challenge the law. He said: “Once we get the signed law in our hands, we will take it to court.” UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE DEGREE SELF SPONSPORED PROGRAMMES (SSP) FOR MAY 2015 INTAKE In your copy of the on 06th May 2015; Kenyatta University invites Applications from qualified applicants for UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE DEGREE SELF SPONSPORED PROGRAMMES (SSP) FOR MAY 2015 INTAKE which will be offered in MAY 2015 to be taken under Full Time and Part Time mode of study at Kenyatta University Main and all Satellite Campuses. Don’t Miss your copy!!!!
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