Journalists and media outlets in Somalia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, faced continued attacks, censorship, and pressure in December 2022, according to IPI monitoring of press freedom violations in Africa.
In total, 66 press freedom threats or violations were identified in December across 16 We countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with 44 of these incidents involving male journalists and 10 involving female journalists. According to IPI data, state actors — such as state security agents or police — were involved in a vast majority of these incidents.
The highest number of identified press freedom threats and violations (25) occurred in Somalia, where independent journalists and civil society have come under increasing attack amid escalating violence and deteriorating security conditions due to ongoing clashes between government forces and the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab. IPI documented the arrests of at least a dozen journalists, as well as nearly 10 incidents in which journalists faced physical threats and violence.
In Zimbabwe, restrictions on independent media and critical journalists continued. IPI documented numerous cases in which journalists were threatened or attacked by political party supporters, and barred or prevented from reporting on political events or speeches. This follows a pattern of similar attacks against the press in the country.
In the DRC, journalists continued to face arrest and pressure. Seven journalists were detained by police in Goma, the capital of North-Kivu province in the east of the country while reporting on a public protest. According to reports, their equipment was damaged during the incident.
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IPI monitors and collects data on press freedom violations in Africa using a standardized methodology that categorizes violations across the following main categories: physical, verbal or online attacks; arrests and charges against journalists; surveillance of journalists; cases of censorship; laws and regulations that restrict the press freedom; and restriction on access to information. Data are further disaggregated by gender. Our monitoring and data collection activities are part of IPI’s wider Africa programme, which aims to defend press freedom and the safety of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa.