WHO WE SERVE

Journalists, Bloggers, and Media Organizations

The Justice Defenders Program supports journalists, bloggers, and media organizations. The Program observes trials and other proceedings to discourage the misuse of defamation and criminal laws to silence journalists. We also provide technical legal assistance to journalists to limit their exposure to such frivolous claims.

Please see below for examples of our public work involving journalists, bloggers, and media organizations.

ANGOLA

Angola: New Report urges President Joao Lourenço to drop all criminal charges against journalists

The Justice Defenders Program prepared a report on the apparent judicial harassment of human rights defender Musa Usman Ndamba. The Cameroonian human rights defender has appeared before the Cameroonian courts over 32 times, defending himself against allegations of criminal defamation filed by wealthy businessman and politician Baba Ahmadou Danpullo.

Trial Observation Report: The Case of Rafael Marques de Morais

The Justice Defenders Program observed the trial of Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais was charged with defamation in relation to his book Blood Diamonds : Corruption and Torture in Angola. The book implicated high ranking Angolan military officials for human rights violations committed in one of Angola's diamond mining areas. After proceedings that denied Marques de Morais the right to present a defense, induced him into making a statement on the basis of false pretenses and compelled him to bear the burden of proving his innocence, all in violation of international fair trial standards, Marques de Morais was found guilty. 

BURKINA FASO

Amicus Curiae Brief on Criminal Defamation Laws in Burkina Faso

 The Justice Defenders Program’s pro bono lawyers successfully supported the participation of 17 regional human rights and media organizations at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights as amici curiae (friends of the court) in a challenge to Burkina Faso’s criminal defamation law, a relic of its colonial days which has been used to target and silence criticism of public officials.

MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique: Effective Counter-terrorism strategies do not include arresting journalists

In the wake of an increasing crackdown on terrorism in Mozambique, the Justice Defenders Program demonstrated its concern  regarding the arrest of Amade Abubacar and several other journalists for investigating alleged human rights abuses by the country's own security forces.

TANZANIA

Report on the Arbitrary Suspension of Kwanza Online TV for Sharing Information Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Justice Defenders Program prepared a report on the arbitrary suspension of Kwanza Online TV, a local media house in Tanzania. The Center urged the government of Tanzania to immediately lift the suspension of Kwanza Online TV and ensure the rights of journalists and broadcasters to carry out their legitmate work free from intimidation and harassment.