Journalism is under threat in most parts of Africa. In a new report released on Monday, Amnesty International said the past year has seen a “blatant attack on independent journalism” across East and Southern Africa with journalists systematically targeted and dissidents silenced.

“What we have witnessed in the past year, as far as media and journalistic freedom is concerned, can only be described as a dark period,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

The importance of access to information has increased over the past year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread humanitarian crises. Yet, national authorities across the region have regularly taken steps to suppress truths and intimidate journalists.

“This blatant attack on independent journalism across the region – sends a chilling message that dissent and the uncovering of uncomfortable truths will not be tolerated. National authorities across East and Southern Africa must stop this roll back of media freedoms and ensure that media professionals are safe and protected to do their job,” said Muchena.

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