freedom of expression

Two Swazi Govt Critics Convicted

A lawyer in Swaziland says two government critics there have been found guilty of contempt of court in a case that focused attention on human rights in the landlocked African kingdom.

Sipho Gumedze, a human rights lawyer, says that the two critics - a lawyer and a magazine editor - are considering an appeal.

Lawyer, Thulani Maseko, and Bheki Makhubu, editor of Swaziland's The Nation magazine, have been charged after publishing articles in which they lamented alleged threats to judicial independence.

Media Urged to Report the ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, says the media has a responsibility to report on progress as well as government’s failures.

Ramaphosa told the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) to tell the stories that are good and also those that are difficult, painful and troublesome.

Ramaphosa called on the media to give expression to the struggles and successes of ordinary South Africans and the effects of government policies on their lives.

Swaziland Releases Detained Editor, Lawyer

A Swaziland editor and a rights lawyer who were arrested over an article said to be in contempt of court were freed on Sunday after a judge nullified their arrest.

Judge Mumcy Dlamini rejected a warrant of arrest for Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation magazine, and lawyer Thulani Maseko, who is a columnist at the magazine, saying it is not in line with the law.

Angola’s Rights Record a Concern

The Human Rights Watch's (HRW) has found that very little is going right for the vast majority of the Angola’s population, including the government’s failure to use the oil windfall to fund socio-economic development.
 
The organisation’s annual World Report 2013 states that the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola-led government has intensified repressive measures to restrict freedom of expression, association, and assembly in 2013.
 

Swaziland’s Terrorism Law Criticised

Rights groups in Swaziland have called for the amendment of a terrorism law they view is aimed at silencing opposition.
 
According to Voice of America, an external broadcasting institution of the United States, activists expressed concern over the 15 arrests made under the Suppression of Terrorism Act in the last two months, with detainees being beaten up and given death threats.
 
The groups believe there is a need to amend the act in order to open up freedom of expression.

Free Speech Translates to Good Governance

A report, released by the Afrobarometer, has indicated that the more freely Africans can speak their minds, the more confident they are in the performance of their governments.
 
The report found that half of Africans surveyed in 34 countries across the continent say they are ‘completely free’ to say what they think, while another quarter say they are ‘somewhat free’.
 

Censorship by South African Film and Publication Board

The Film and Publication Board's rigid and simplistic interpretation of the law seems to mean that even a film that exposes and opposes child abuse might be banned. We are in a Catch-22 situation: we want to discuss whether this film promotes or helps prevent abuse, but we are prevented from seeing it to decide that. We are expected to simply trust the Board and, given our history of the abuse of censorship powers, that is not going to happen.

Right2Know Campaign: National Coordinator

The Right2Know (R2K) Campaign is an umbrella group of organisations and activists mobilising and advocating for access to information and against secrecy in government and the private sector. R2K is best known for leading the civil society campaign on the Secrecy Bill, but its work has expanded to tackle broader issues relating to freedom of expression, media freedom and diversity and the free flow of information.

R2K seeks to appoint a new National Coordinator, based in Cape Town.

Responsibilities:

Lecturer Charged Over WhatsApp Insult

A Tanzanian lecturer has been charged with insulting President John Magufuli in a WhatsApp message, according to a senior police official, bringing the number of people charged under a tough new cybercrimes law to 10.

Magufuli, nicknamed ‘the bulldozer’ for pushing through his policies, has won some praise from Western donors for anti-corruption drives and cutting wasteful government spending since coming to power in November 2015.

Amnesty Slams Angola Over Rights

Amnesty International says that Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos’s tightening stranglehold on freedom of expression in Angola and his government’s decades of fear and repression will cast an indelible stain on the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence.

The organisation states that as dignitaries and foreign leaders gather in the capital Luanda to mark four decades of independence, at least 16 activists continue to languish in Angolan jails.

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