It was another bravado performance in The Hague from Charles Taylor, who looked gentle and unassuming as he asked for leniency. Almost tempted to believe him, SIMON ALLISON recalls that no amount of smooth talking can erase the horrors the man inflicted on Sierra Leone.
Unless the South African government gets its head out of the sand over the next chairperson of the AU, there’ll be another stalemate in Lilongwe – and our already battered reputation will take another hammering. By SIMON ALLISON.
Africa and the ICC have an intense and complicated relationship. The African Union would like to change this and have Africa take responsibility for enforcing its own justice, and it’s meeting to do exactly this. But don’t expect the ICC to go anywhere yet. By SIMON ALLISON.
Those dastardly liberal types responsible for drafting the new Zimbabwean constitution – aka “regime change weapon” – have crossed the line as far as Zanu-PF is concerned with their repeated attempts to smuggle in protection for gay rights and all kinds of other dangerous imperialist dogma. Consensus remains a long way off. By SIMON ALLISON.
Algeria goes to the polls on Thursday to elect a new parliament. With some bravado, the Algerian government has promoted these elections in advertisements as “Algeria’s Spring”, invoking the spirit of the Arab Spring. But this is just another opportunity for the country’s political elite to gain a semblance of legitimacy. By KHADIJA PATEL.
As Timbuktu reels under rebel control, South Africa’s investment in the preservation and protection of ancient manuscripts has been significantly imperilled. A good few million rands were poured into the Timbuktu project, but it’s not the financial loss that will be felt most acutely. By KHADIJA PATEL.
A stalemate in the never-ending race to chair the AU Commission is inevitable unless someone can show some real leadership. It’s time for our diplomats to ditch their egos and find a compromise candidate, or it’s Africa that will be compromised – again. BY SIMON ALLISON.
Historians’ worst fears are coming true as Timbuktu’s new rulers set fire to an ancient tomb, just one of the city’s many World Heritage sites. And this is just the beginning, says Ansar Dine, the Islamist group whose fundamentalist dogma threatens to destroy Africa’s most fabled city. By SIMON ALLISON.
As tensions escalate, war in the Sudans looks inevitable. In fact, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir already thinks so. Not that he minds too much, judging by his belligerent attitude as he addressed his troops. After all, violence has always been the panacea to all his problems, and right now he’s got all sorts of problems. By SIMON ALLISON.
Something’s wrong with Comrade Bob. Maybe it’s the cancer everyone suspects, maybe it’s just old age, but he’s getting soft. Mugabe’s speeches don’t usually centre around peace, tolerance, and free will – quite the opposite – so his conciliatory address to mark Zimbabwe’s independence day came as a shock. By SIMON ALLISON.
It was less a case of Invisible Children and more a case of Invisible Activists on Friday night. That date, 20 April, was the occasion of Kony 2012’s Cover the Night campaign. Reports suggest it flopped worldwide but that Cape Town put in a good effort. They also suggest that Internet causes don’t necessarily translate into concrete action. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Despite South Africa’s sole objection, the United Nations chose not to monitor human rights in the knowledge of gross violations in Western Sahara, which was condemned to another year of its impasse with Morocco. If the Polisario takes matters into its own hands again, it’s because it has no other choice. By SIMON ALLISON.
On Tuesday, the presidents of Ecowas nations met to discuss Mali. They condemned the coup and sent an ultimatum to the junta: step aside, or risk military intervention. By SIMON ALLISON.
There were fears that the Press Freedom Commission hearings, dubbed the "Listening to South Africa Campaign" would result in nothing more than a rehash of the Press Council public hearings that took place in 2011. At the very least, a greater diversity of voices seem to have come to the party. By JULIE REID.
The elected President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Odimba, doesn't like it when the self-proclaimed president, André Mba Obame, receives media coverage about his claim. His reaction is to shoot the messenger – or, in this case, shut the television station. By THERESA MALLINSON.
Nearly three months after he was shot by Libyan government troops near Brega, a ceremony in Johannesburg remembered photographer Anton Hammerl and reflected on his life and work – and his quest to tell the truth about conflict, despite the dangers. By PHILLIP DE WET.
On Thursday night South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl's wife, Penny Sukhraj, received the phone call she'd been dreading. Her husband had been shot dead by Gaddafi loyalists on 5 April. The South African government – which had assured all and sundry that Hammerl was alive – now say they were consistently lied to by the Libyan government "from the highest levels". What action can it take to express outrage about those lies? Not a great deal, it seems. By THERESA MALLINSON and PHILLIP DE WET.
On Tuesday evening it was announced that four journalists held in Libya – Manu Brabo, Jim Foley, Clare Gillis, and an unnamed fourth – would be released, possibly as early as Wednesday. We don't know if the fourth journalist is Anton Hammerl, but it seems unlikely. And in South Africa, the lack of information and action is still difficult to believe. Either the SA government doesn't know or doesn't really care. Or both. By THERESA MALLINSON.
South African photojournalist Anton Hammerl has been detained in Libya for 10 days – and counting. SA's diplomats say it is a “delicate situation”, and can’t give details of negotiations for his release. Yet four New York Times journalists captured in Libya in March were released after only six days, while, in another great example of great skill and dedication of our government, the South African consulate in Tripoli has yet to locate Hammerl. And it took them eight days to just to contact his family. By THERESA MALLINSON.
Swaziland has turned into a mini-war-zone as police armed to the teeth parade the streets in a public display of military might. Soldiers have been occupying strategic areas, while roadblocks have been mounted across the country in preparation for the planned uprising on Tuesday. Several activists have been arrested, and the Swazi Labour Federation headquarters has been surrounded by police. By MANQOBA NXUMALO.
During February’s polls in Uganda and the campaigns that preceded them, journalists had a tough time of it, being harassed and intimidated by both ruling and opposition parties. With Museveni still in power, it doesn't seem the situation will improve anytime soon. But at least journalists are out of immediate danger – for now. By TOM RHODES.
Ghana has a proud tradition of investigative reporting. Its latest practitioner is Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who specialises in going undercover. He's exposed corruption in cocoa smuggling, the running of mental homes and orphanages, and most recently at the country's main port. Seems apt that he works for a newspaper called The New Crusading Guide. By BAAFOO AHENKORA.
On Thursday afternoon, Nigeria's Freedom of Information (FoI) bill was passed by the house of representatives, without much opposition. However, it still needs to pass the senate and be signed by the president before it becomes law. And with certain areas like law enforcement, the economy, international affairs, and defence potentially exempt from the bill, not all information will be equally accessible. By REMMY NWEKE.
Gregory Stemn had some narrow escapes covering the civil war in Liberia. Even though he now lives in the US, he admits to still hearing bullets flying over his head. Stemn hopes that his recently published book, "Liberia: When Darkness Falls", will be widely distributed in his home country - so that people remember what they've lived through. By MICHAEL KEATING
We hope you're not getting bored with stories about the lack of public participation at Press Council hearings being held around the country. But we can't report on all the interesting points the public is making if they simply don't exist. At least in Cape Town on Thursday the Muslim Judicial Council aired its views – but that was about it. Again. By TO MOLEFE.
Sadly, CBS reporter Lara Logan's sexual assault in Cairo last week is but one instance of a crime that is all too common in Africa. Until Friday, the women of Egypt had found the protests notable for the lack of harassment, but the attack on Logan was a brutal reminder of their daily realities. We can only hope political change in Egypt also brings a change in attitude towards women. By COURTNEY BROOKS.
Having threatened to impose a statutory media appeals tribunal on South Africa – despite global condemnation and in the face of the Constitutional protection of a free media as President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation address – the chief complainant, the ANC, failed even to attend the first hearings of the Press Council on Thursday. By JULIE REID.
U2 frontman Bono was the target of wide-scale derision this weekend after a story about him apparently supporting ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and that infamous “shoot the boer” liberation song flamed across South Africa – and then circled the globe. But as the world’s most famous Irish band took to the stage at FNB Stadium, music journalists stepped forward to say Bono had been horribly misquoted by the media. By MANDY DE WAAL.
Initially, there was relative press freedom in independent Kenya under Jomo Kenyatta – with the emphasis being on “relative” – but the situation deteriorated during the rule Daniel Arap Moi. This continued under the Kibaki administration, and it is only under the new constitution, since August 2010, that the right to media freedom is guaranteed. By ZACHARY OCHIENG.
Freedom of the press is a tricky issue in Liberia, as in most African countries. While it’s assumed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf played a behind-the-scenes role in the release of editor Rodney Sieh from prison, journalists still suffer threats and intimidation - and with election in October this will only increase. A lack of resources is not helping matters either. By MICHAEL KEATING.
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