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Archive for the tag “NGO Freedom House”

Press Release: Burundi Shuts Down Civil Society (23.11.2015)

Burundi 24.11

In response to the suspension of 10local human rights organizations on November 23 by the Burundian government, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“It is ludicrous that the government of Burundi would suspend many of the last remaining entities, including APRODH, working to promote peace and protect the fundamental rights of its citizens,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. “Burundi is at a severe disadvantage without an active civil society, and any remaining legitimacy is slipping away with these oppressive tactics. The government of Burundi should immediately reverse these illegal suspensions and participate in, not just commit to, peace negotiations, which have the great potential to prevent a broader widespread conflict and reverse the country’s downward trajectory.”

Background:

Last week, the government of Burundi froze the bank accounts of some of the most prominent local human rights organizations, including FORSC, FOCODE and APRODH. Since April 2015 – when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to pursue a third mandate violating the Arusha Accords – most civil society leaders have been forced into exile and all local independent radio stations have been shut down.

Burundi is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, and is rated Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Norman Thumuhimbise speaking out after the abduction and will report the Kampala Metropolitan Police tomorrow!

Finally is hespeaking to the world. After he was unjustly taken to custody by security organization earlier this week. Norman Thumuhimbise of the Jobless Brotherhood is being punished for speaking the truth and telling stories of youth who just want to work and not be unemployed anymore in Uganda. For that and for using peaceful tools to campaign for the cause that he is involved in. The Police and Security Organizations has done him and other oppositition people has also gotten this actions against them. And the world should take notice and give the regime a little of piece of mind. Instead it looks like it close it eyes shut because its in the wrong zip-code. If the giant media houses doesn’t care! I do.

One last thing:

The saddest thing is that he has to REPORT AGAIN to the KAMPALA METROPOLIAN POLICE!! After he has been unlawfully detained by people serving the security agencies and even the police. They interrogated him unlawfully and dumped him! Still has now to go back to the police and report himself. That can’t be just and lawful behaviour of the Police in the State of Uganda! Peace. 

Peace!

This is the press release on the 26th of August from Freedom House:

In response to the apparent abduction and detention of Ugandan youth activist Norman Tumuhimbise on August 19, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Freedom House is concerned by Ugandan authorities’ apparent abduction and illegal detention of Norman Tumuhimbise, a youth activist, in an undisclosed location until his release August 26,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “The Uganda Police and Uganda Human Rights Commission should immediately investigate his abduction and release the findings publicly as soon as possible. As Uganda’s 2016 general elections approach, the Government of Uganda should ensure that the fundamental rights of human rights activists, as enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda, are respected.”

 

Press Release: Burundi: Police Barricade Parts of the Capital (13.08.2015)

In response to police in Bujumbura, Burundi barricading the neighborhood of Jabe to search residents’ homes and collect weapons, Freedom House issues the following statement:

“This is clearly an attempt by Burundian authorities to stifle peaceful freedom of movement and assembly in Bujumbura,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. “Burundian authorities should not use the latest uptick in unrest to justify further repression of the rights of citizens,  as it exacerbates political polarization in the country.”

Background:
Since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to defy term limits in April, Burundi has spiraled into near chaos. Over 180,000 persons have fled the country, and more than 100 others have been killed. On August 2, General Adolphe Nshimirimana, seen as President Pierre Nkurunziza’s number two man, was assassinated. On August 3, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, prominent human rights activist, was assaulted. Police raids in Jabe and other neighborhoods in the capital are viewed as attempts to suppress opposition to Nkurunziza seeking a third term.

Burundi is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Press Freedom in the East African nations with ratings of the environment in 2014 (+ reports that the Ugandan regime turned off the transmitter of the Radio Baba in Jinja yesterday)

Dr. Kizza Besigye Jinja Iganga-Jinja Rallies 21.07.2015

Yesterday on the 21.07.2015 the NRM regime cut off the radio transmitter for the “Baba Radio” or as it’s really named 87.7 Basogo Baino FM in Jinja after Dr. Kizza Besigye had a great rally earlier in the day in Iganga and Jinja. Therefore it made me go through the report on ‘Press Freedom in 2014 – Harsh Laws and Violence Drive Global Decline’ that is coming from the NGO Freedom house. Today on 22.07.2015 Mr. Innocent Anyole is sacked from his job after trying to interview Dr. Kizza Besigye this sacking happen by Radio Director Hon. Moses Grace Balyeku, the NRM Chairman of Jinja and MP for Jinja West Constituency. He sure followed party line and broke the wing of the man who introduced FDC man Dr. Kizza Besigye. Well, let me introduce the Press Freedom in East Africa according to the global rankings of the Freedom House and their report on how it was in 2014.

This report has three important levels of how the media is and which place in society it has:

  1. Free
  2. Partly Free
  3. Not Free

The difference between them comes to how great power the countries government controls the media or let them be. How the laws and treatment of journalist and media institutions is and how the events surrounding them have been in the recent year.

I will focus on the East African Countries and those in the “area” around how the quote and place this countries in the report. Because I write about the South Sudan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. These are the countries that will be taken. Not the whole world but the basic places that I usually cover in my blog somehow. So it shouldn’t be surprise to anyone.

Before addressing the numbers and rankings of the nations, let me take the quotes on some of the nations from the report as well:

“Ethiopian authorities stepped up arrests of independent journalists, including the Zone 9 bloggers, leading more than 30 to flee the country during the year, according to CPJ” (…) “In Kenya contained several vaguely worded clauses curtailing press freedom, including the threat of three years in prison for journalists who fail to obtain police permission before reporting on terrorism investigations or operations, or for coverage “likely to cause public alarm, incitement to violence, or disturb public peace” (…) “Somalia’s score improved from 82 to 79 due to the increased ability of private actors to open media outlets and the greater distribution of media, especially radio, throughout the south-central part of the country” (…) “South Sudan’s score declined from 62 to 68 due to the government’s near-complete disregard for constitutional and legal protections for freedom of the press in 2014, as well as the lack of such protections in rebel-held areas; a marked increase in restrictions imposed on journalists by the security forces; and heightened censorship, self-censorship, and retaliatory attacks on journalists”.

From here I will address the rankings of the East African nations coming when it comes to press freedom and the numbers that they have gotten from the expert committees that gone through reports and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). The stories this numbers are telling and the situation that the media has on the ground is staggering. Therefore it’s a story that has to be told. Now will explain the criteria of the global ranking that is made of scoring process, the value of the levels and what they mean for each country and last the main groups of questions that the researchers and analyst in cooperation with IFEX. That has crunched the numbers with the questions and reports from sources from the whole world.

Criteria:

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”

Scoring Process:

“The research and scoring process involves more than 90 analysts—including outside consultants and members of the core research team headquartered in New York—who prepare the draft ratings and country reports” (…) “the other members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network for providing detailed and timely analyses of press freedom violations in a variety of countries worldwide, on which we rely to make our judgments”.

Scale Point for the levels:

“A country’s final score (from 0 to 100) represents the total of the scores allotted for each question. A total score of 0 to 30 results in a press freedom status of Free; 31 to 60 a status of Partly Free; and 61 to 100 a status of Not Free”.

Questions that makes the score:

The scores are put into three categories: Legal Environment (0-30points), Political Environment (0-40points) and Economical Environment (0-30points).

daily-nation-east-african-newspapers

Placing of the East African nations: 

Rank Country Score Status
164 Burundi 74 Not Free
172 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 79 Not Free
180 Ethiopia 83 Not Free
124 Kenya 57 Partly Free
172 Rwanda 79 Not Free
172 Somalia* 79 Not Free
152 South Sudan 68 Not Free
115 Tanzania 54 Partly Free
123 Uganda 56 Partly Free

*Somaliland got ranked 115 – Score of 54 and was set to be ‘Partly Free’

What this means:

This tells something about the environment that the press in the East African nations goes through. Of the eight nations three is ‘Partly Free’: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This means that certain levels of freedom is on the media, but has certain levels of strings on the press. It’s worse in the rest of the nations because they are on the level of ‘Not Free’: Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Somalia and South Sudan. And they did make Somalialand as a separate territory as a ‘Party Free’ whiles the country as a whole is set as ‘Not Free’. Therefore in that setting certain areas of Somalia federation has more freedom then the rest.

What that is shocking for me is how low scores countries of Uganda has compared to Ethiopia. Ethiopia has been strict on media and journalist. Especially to those who are abiding opposition in the country. Uganda has many outlets, still the big ones has over time been disorganized by the regime like the Daily Monitor. That has not happen with similar media in Kenya. Though the laws for media there is isn’t similar reports on shut downs of radio station and papers when the regime disagrees. Rwanda I am sure that the government is strict on the media, because the news from there is usually in the mood of the regime. Burundi if it wasn’t for protests and deflectors, there would be less news and information on the regime of Pierre Nkuruziza. DRC and Kabila haven’t put this into motions after all the issues that have been in the last decades. The regime has control and want to be sure of the information that is put out. Therefore when you hear something negative it’s from the UN bodies or MONUSCO but not the press of the DRC or journalists. Tanzania has its freedom but also strangles on the media. The party has been running the country since independence so the feelings is that their intertwined and feel like they are together, instead of actually being critical of the politicians and society. But it should be worried that the different countries and how big the difference between the top and bottom of the scale in the East African. From Tanzania who got 54 points and the worst was Ethiopia got 83 points – the close competition was Rwanda, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo got all 79 points on the scale. 60 Points scale is the max for the ‘Partly Fee’ media nations. So that the environment is on a far level from partly and even longer way to being free. The thing that is worrying is that it’s less than 5 points from ‘Partly Free’ to ‘Not Free’ with Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It’s just small tweaks and harassment of the media and in 2016 report will degrade this nations and how the media has a place in these countries. Though it doesn’t look to good, but hopefully I and others can be surprised. Until then let hope that the media get into a place where they can actually monitor their areas and speak their minds without fear or legal repercussions. Peace.

Reference:

Dunham, Jennifer, Nelson, Bret & Ahekyan, Elen – ‘Press Freedom in 2014 – Harsh Laws and Violence Drive Global Decline’ – April 2015 – Freedom House

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