- A publication director in the Central African Republic has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment for publishing an investigative article about possible corruption in the village hospital of La Lobaye.
On 26 June, a court in La Lobaye - a town located 105 kilometres from the Central African capital Bangui - sentenced Michel Ngokpele, publication director of the Bangui-based newspaper 'Le quotidien de Bangui', to six months' imprisonment with no parole for "defamation by means of the press" and "incitement to ethnic hatred".
According to information received by the Kinshasa-based group Journaliste en danger (JED), in mid-May, 'Le quotidien de Bangui' had published an article about the misappropriation of funds at La Lobaye's M'Baiki hospital.
Among other things, the article published by Mr Ngokpele said: "Since the arrival of the new head doctor, there are more deaths at the hospital than previously." The disputed article further read: "The new doctor appears to be protected by the chief of police and state prosecutor, to whom he happens to be related."
Mr Ngokpele was arrested on 18 May, JED says. He had first been detained at the Bangui police station before being transferred to M'Baiki prison.
The journalist then appeared before the M'Baiki High Court on 19 June. The prosecution had sought a three-month prison sentence and 250,000 franc CFA (approximately 250 euros) fine. He was later sentenced to six months' imprisonment.
The fragile situation of the press in the Central African Republic first seemed to be improving after the military coup by General François Bozizé earlier this year. The general promised the international community to adhere to universal human rights.
As a gesture of good intentions, Mathurin Momet, editor of the privately-owned Bangui daily 'Le Confident', was released along with a number of other detainees on 15 March following the coup d'état.
The trial against Mr Ngokpele and his subsequent prison sentence is therefore the first major incident violating press freedom under the new military regime in Bangui.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.