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Press Freedom and Security in Africa

In commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, the Africa Center highlights the African countries with the most open and most restrictive media environments.

Africa's most free and most restrictive press environments
Source: Freedom House


  • Press freedom in Africa varies widely—with corresponding implications for security.
  • Three of the five African countries with the most restrictive press environments are in conflict. In contrast, none of the African countries with the greatest press freedoms face armed struggle.
  • The five African countries that have the least free media environments account for 29 percent of all refugees and displaced persons on the continent. For the five countries with the most open press, the figure is a fraction of 1 percent.

A free press plays a critical role in African security by articulating grievances that can guide policy course corrections, fostering dialogue within society, informing the public on major challenges facing the country, strengthening security sector institutions, and exposing corruption, among other means. This is particularly critical in Africa where nearly all conflicts are internal and therefore issues of governance, the equitable allocation of state resources, transparency, and accountability are key forces for stability.

Gaining access to the information that informs African and international publics on African security issues often relies on courageous journalists covering these stories. In honor of World Press Freedom Day, the Africa Center remembers the following journalists who lost their lives covering African conflicts or political crises over the past year:

Marcel Lubala, Radio Télévision nationale congolaise
November 15, 2016, in Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mahad Ali Mohamed, Codka Mudug Radio
November 6, 2016, in Galkayo, Somalia

Jeroen Oerlemans, Freelance Journalist
October 2, 2016, in Sirte, Libya

Abdiaziz Ali, Radio Shabelle
September 27, 2016, in Mogadishu, Somalia

Abdelqadir Fassouk, Arraed Satellite TV
July 21, 2016, in Sirte, Libya

Khaled al-Zintani, Freelance Journalist
June 24, 2016, in Benghazi, Libya

Sagal Salad Osman, Radio Mogadishu
June 5, 2016, in Mogadishu, Somalia

Isaac Vuni, Freelance Journalist
Summer, 2016, in Kerepi, South Sudan

El-Hadj Mohamed Diallo, Guinée7, Afrik
February 5, 2016, in Conakry, Guinea

(Source: Committee to Protect Journalists)

Africa Center Expert

Additional Resources

Photo: Radio Okapi.