In January 2024, IPI documented 42 threats to press freedom in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Arrests, detentions, and physical attacks were the most common categories of threats. Guinea recorded the highest number of violations. State actors remain the main perpetrators, responsible for 88 percent of the recorded attacks on journalists and media outlets.  



In Guinea, on January 19, Sekou Jamal Pendessa, journalist and secretary general of the Union of the Press Professionals of Guinea (SPPG), was arrested. After three days of detention, he was charged with “unlawful participation in a public demonstration and attempt to disrupt public order”. The charges are in connection with demonstrations by members of the media community on January 18 against the military regime’s attempts to clamp down on independent media over criticism of the government and against restrictions to mobile internet access. At least a dozen other journalists were also arrested on January 18 in relation to the protests.

In the DRC, on January 6, the army arrested at least five journalists and radio technicians of the community radio outlet Radio Communautaire de Mangina (RCM) in North Kivu province. The arrested journalists and radio technicians were charged with inciting the public to disobedience of the military authorities. The incident followed the broadcasting of the program “Révélation du Peuple”, which exposes and debates security and political issues. The armed forces took away broadcasting equipment including a transmitter, mixer, microphone, computer, and a stabilizer. Those arrested – Katembo Maghtse Shukrani, Yves Romaric Baraka, Sharo Mbonga, Daniel Kambale Mbayahi, and Glads Kiro – were released the following day.

In Somaliland, on January 6, the Somaliland minister of information, Ali Hassan Mohamed, was reported to have warned independent journalists and private media outlets not to discuss the maritime deal concluded between the Somaliland and Ethiopia authorities. On the same day, the police raided the media house MM Somali TV based in Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland, during a discussion on the Somaliland-Ethiopia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) over the maritime deal. The police arrested Mohamed Abdi Abdullahi (known as Andar) and cameraman Ilyaas Abdinasir and detained them for three days. The two were released on January 9. No charges were brought against them.