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Two Prosecutions Highlight Threats to Press Freedom

Morocco and Algeria are neighbors and rivals, sharing one of the world’s longest closed-land borders, vying for diplomatic supremacy in the Maghreb region, sparring over Western Sahara, and insulting each other’s governments daily via state-influenced…
Journalists Khaled Drareni (Left) and Omar Radi (Right)
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Two Women Face Justice for Covid-19 Jokes

It all started with harmless jokes. But because they chose humor to push back against the Coronavirus and lockdown-generated anxiety, a young Moroccan woman is now in prison, and a Tunisian woman could soon share her fate. In Morocco, the story…
People shop in the Central Market of Tunis during the first days of Ramadan, Tunis, Tunisia April 28, 2020.
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Journalists Assaulted, Threatened, Harassed

Kenyan media didn’t have much to celebrate on World Press Freedom Day. Kenyan police and senior state officials have continued to intimidate, threaten, and physically attack journalists reporting on sensitive issues, and authorities have done…
Ferry passengers flee from police firing tear gas, after new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus instead caused a crowd to form outside the ferry in Mombasa, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020.
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Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
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Journalists Face Unjustifiable Restrictions, Threats

Many Kenyan journalists and rights activists travelled this week to Ethiopia for a summit to mark the World Press Freedom Day celebrations. It’s a sign of how things have changed that some Kenyan journalists told us how impressed they…
A Kenyan journalist participates in a protest in the capital, Nairobi, against draconian new laws restricting media freedom that were presented in parliament, December 3, 2013.
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Authorities Should Allow Open Reporting on Issues of Public Interest

Kenya joined the rest of the world to celebrate freedom of the press this week under a hostile and uncertain environment for the media. Despite numerous public promises by President Uhuru Kenyatta to safeguard press freedom, the…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
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Journalists Face Intimidation Around Election

Duncan Khaemba, a television journalist in Kenya, was reporting on cases of violence in Kibera, a low-income neighborhood in Nairobi, when he was arrested with his colleague Otieno Willis on August 12, and subsequently released. Media…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
News

Moroccan Women Need Help Confronting, Not Covering Up, Domestic Violence

“We hope these beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life,” said a make-up artist on the morning show Sabahiyat on Morocco’s state television last Wednesday. But this was no typical make-up advice: She was teaching women how to cover up…
Screenshot from an episode of the Sabahiyat morning show on Morrocan state television, which aired on November 23, 2016.
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Plan Better to Prevent Problems in Hurricane’s Wake

It’s hard to imagine another disaster on the scale of the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti. Yet the latest reports on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti on October 4, suggest its devastating effects,…
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It has been a tough year so far for the media in Kenya, with journalists and bloggers bearing the brunt of what seems to be a concerted government effort to silence the press. On January 19, for example, Kenyan blogger Edwin…
Joseph Ole Nkaissery, Secretary for Internal Security and Coordination of National Government, Kenya.
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“My husband beats me. He abuses me. My family doesn’t help me. They just say ‘be patient, he’ll change.’ The first time, I went to the police. They didn’t believe me, they told me to go home.” These are the opening words of a new video…
Stop domestic violence in Morocco
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Emily, a widow from rural western Kenya, lived and farmed on her husband’s land for more than 30 years. While her husband was alive, they lived comfortably, and her four children were happy in school. This ended abruptly when her husband died, and her in-…
Female farmers resettled to Mwaladzi received land with poor access to water and limited productivity. The compensation package also included a new house.
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“We women must respect ourselves. You cannot stay with a man drinking until 3 a.m.” This was the response from Mary Wambui, a member of parliament, to recent protests by female legislators and women’s rights activists over accusations that Gideon Mwiti,…
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In a discussion with me last week about freedom of expression in his country, Moroccan Minister of Communication Moustapha Khalfi boasted that Sahrawi people living in Western Sahara who opposed Moroccan rule over the contested former Spanish colony are…