West Africa experienced a decline in freedom of expression in the third quarter of 2022 as violations rose by 9% during the period compared to the previous quarter.
The MFWA’s Freedom of Expression Monitor revealed that forty-six (46) violations affecting a total number of 254 victims were recorded in eight (8) countries between July and September 2022. The figure for the second quarter of 2022 stood at 42.
Out of the 46 violations, Guinea recorded 18 violations to top the table of repression, followed by Nigeria (10 violations). Sierra Leone and Ghana recorded 7 and 4 violations respectively. Senegal, Liberia, and The Gambia recorded 2 violations each, while Burkina Faso recorded a single violation for this quarter.
The quarter saw a relentless assault on the rights to freedom of assembly. The authorities in Guinea banned outright all street protests and processions. At least 8 protesters died in the country during deadly repressions against defiant demonstrators opposed to the military government’s decision to stay in power for three years. In Sierra Leone, a violent crackdown on protests left at least 27 people dead and more than a hundred arrested, amidst an internet shutdown and a curfew. Student protesters in Liberia were brutalised.
About 40 journalists were victims of violations during this quarter. Eleven of them were arrested during peaceful demonstrations at the premises of their media outlet in Senegal, while at least 6 of them were victims of physical attacks during protests in Guinea.
The report also highlights other key freedom of expression developments in West Africa, including redresses for violations and recommendations to key stakeholders.
Read the full report here.