freedom of expression

Belated vindication for free speech, media, in African Commission decision

Two women journalists, released from prison in Rwanda after serving their full jail terms for writing and publishing articles that ‘endangered national security’, have been vindicated by the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights. In its decision officially published last week, the commission found that Rwanda’s laws on defamation and freedom of expression violated the African Charter and should be amended. The two journalists, Agnes Uwimana-Nkusi and Saidati Mukakibibi, were charged in connection with articles published in 2010.

Read decision

Lawyers acting for Agnes Uwimana-Nkusi and Saidati Mukakibibi approached the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in October 2012. Both women were in jail at the time, serving sentences related to stories they had written and published, critical of Rwanda’s government and some of its policies.

Regional court upholds freedom of expression, media freedom

The Tanzanian government, seen as oppressive in its attitude to a number of democratic freedoms including freedom of expression and free media, has lost a significant battle at the East African Court of Justice. The EACJ, which resolves disputes involving the East African Community and its member states, was approached by the newspaper, Mseto, after the Tanzanian government suspended it from all operations for three years. First, the EACJ trial court held that the suspension was unlawful.

Read judgment from the East African Court of Justice, trial court 

Read judgment from the East African Court of Justice, appeal court

Judiciaries leading free access to law movement in Africa

Senior judicial leaders, including host Uganda’s Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe and African Court President Justice Sylvain Ore, took part in the Freedom of Expression Seminar in Kampala, Uganda on 29 October 2019.

In the Case of Szücs v. Austria the European Court of Human Rights observed that ‘[t]he ability of citizens to access court decisions protects against the administration of justice in secret, and is a means to maintain public confidence in courts.’ Free access to court decisions in the African context was the topic of a presentation to a gathering of continental judicial leaders on the sidelines of the 4th African Union Judicial Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda last week.

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