MEDIA WATCH

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STATE OFFICIAL GETS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF KENYAN JOURNALISTS
November 2016- The Kenya Union of Journalists wants a state official to be prosecuted for threatening a journalist for writing a story about the possible loss of US$5 million. The  Health Principal Secretary Dr Nicholas Muragari told Stellar Murumba of the Nation Media Group that the government was capable of hacking into journalists’ computers and could always get a heads-up of any story before it was published. It could also snoop into her bank account, he is quoted as telling the journalist during an interview. “This is an affront on Chapter Six of our Constitution and we call upon President Uhuru Kenyatta to demand accountability from such public officers who believe that espionage in newsrooms is the only cure to corruption cancer in government ministries,” a statement from the KUJ said.

Mounting press freedom crisis in Burundi
Bujumbura, October 2016 — The Interior Minister Pascal Barandagiye indefinitely suspended the operating permits of five organizations, including the Burundian Union of Journalists (UBJ, by its French acronym), and banned an additional five leading civil society groups outright. The order came a day after Burundian security forces detained journalist Julia Steers, a fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, her fixer Gildas Yihundimpundu, and driver Pascal Sinahagera while the three were reporting in the Mutakura suburb of Bujumbura, the site of days of protests in April 2015, according to media reports. Steers, an American citizen, was released to the U.S. Embassy soon after her arrest, but Yihundimpundu, who also freelances for the BBC, and Sinahagera, their driver, were held overnight at the headquarters of Burundi’s National Intelligence Service (SNR, by its French acronym.

Controversial media draft law for divided public opinion in Madagascar
Antananarivo, October 2016 — Journalist in the country have spent time this week contesting some articles in the controversial draft law. They complain that some of its provisions hinder freedom of expression and limit access to information.
The journalists are afraid of the legal implications of this media draft law.
Media professionals have also criticized the country’s communication ministry for lack of dialogue when the texts were being put together.
They are now calling upon UN officials in Madagascar to recommend dialogue between government officials and the media for the amelioration of the contested sections.
Madagascar’s press freedom improved from not free to partly free in 2015 due to a decline in direct pressure and censorship from highest levels of government, an independent watchdog organization, Freedom House says.

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