Legal victories for freedom of expression a bright spot in a month of deaths and violence against women

June in Sub-Saharan Africa: A free expression roundup produced by IFEX’s regional editor Reyhana Masters, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Members of the Ethiopian Oromo community in London, UK, call for justice for slain singer Hachalu Hundessa, 3 July 2020, Thabo Jaiyesimi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fears confirmed in Cameroon

Gender-based violence — the shadow pandemic

The brutal murders of Tshegofatso Pule in South Africa and Vera Uwaila Omozuwa in Nigeria spotlight the pandemic within the pandemic. 28-year-old Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was found hanging from a tree after being stabbed several times in Johannesburg, while 22-year-old Omozuwa who had gone into a church in Benin City, Nigeria to study, was raped and murdered.

Ethiopian musician’s death exposes deep ethnic fissures

Week-long, deadly protests, triggered by the killing of popular musician and activist Hachalu Hundessa on 29 June, brought the deep seated ethnic tensions front and centre in Africa’s second-most populous nation’s political landscape. Ethiopian protestors clashed with police in their demand for justice. As authorities shut down the internet and journalists were impeded from covering Hundessa’s funeral, the ever present, smouldering ethnic divisions morphed into nationwide protests.

ECOWAS ruling protects right to freedom of expression

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice set a precedent on the African continent with its ruling, declaring the Togolese government internet shutdown “unlawful and contrary to international law”.

Gabon decriminalises homosexuality

After Tippexgate…

Controlling the message

COVID-19 safety measures and regulations are being used by a few African governments to exert control over which journalists and media outlets cover state media events such as press conferences and public hearings. In various instances, media personnel from independent or privately owned media houses are either barred or ejected.

In Brief

Swaziland democracy activist Ncamiso Ngcamphalala has said he was tortured by police after he was arrested and charged with sedition for criticising King Mswati III.

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org