As The Economist points out in a recent Baobob blog post, journalists in Africa — more specifically African journalists in Africa — are being increasingly targeted by government prosecutors, militant bullets and criminal gangs.
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Baobab takes the case of Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega, a veteran reporter (and more recently blogger) who has been something of a go-to man for newbies in Addis who want to understand what's really going on. Nega is on trial and faces a possible death sentence for treason for what he's written.
But, as the article points out:
"Ethiopia is not alone. Indeed there are signs that the country's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, may agree to an amnesty for Mr Nega, as well as, separately, for two Swedish journalists who were imprisoned last year for 11 years after entering the country illegally with a separatist terrorist group. Eritrea has the worst record in the world when it comes to the abuse of journalists, but across Africa, in Malawi, Swaziland, The Gambia, Rwanda, Congo, the story is similar. The killing of brave Somali hacks continues, with two more journalists shot dead this year already."
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Baobab concludes that donor countries that cushion regimes with their cash should do more — and so should journalists. I couldn't agree more. As foreign correspondents in Africa, we get away with a lot thanks to our outsider status and perceived powerful backing. Precisely because our local counterparts can't, and don't, we should stand up for them more strongly.
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