20 June 2012

Exiled journalists mainly from East Africa, says Committee to Protect Journalists

Fifty-seven journalists fled their countries in the past year, more than a quarter of them from East Africa, says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

According to CPJ's annual "Journalists in Exile" report, released on 20 June to coincide with World Refugee Day, more than a quarter of exiled journalists were from East African countries - Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Many of the journalists sought refuge in Uganda and Kenya; others found safe haven in Europe and North America.

The majority of the journalists who fled said it was a fear of violence or retribution that made them leave, and their fears are justified, says the report.

CPJ points to Somalia as an example: six journalists have been killed in 2012, and no journalist murders have been prosecuted since 1992. However, their host countries are rarely welcoming and even in exile they are followed, harassed and attacked, either by local police or their country's security agents, and occasionally kidnapped and deported.

"Most of the exiles are subject to fear, poverty, and uncertainty, while conditions for free expression deteriorate in the countries they leave behind," says CPJ.

Read Journalists in Exile 2012 here.

Four East African journalists who were forced to flee their countries tell about their experiences, difficulties, and hopes for the future in CPJ's video.

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