Journalist in Africa: A high-risk profession under threat | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-199X
  • E-ISSN: 1751-7974



Every year, several international organizations monitoring press freedom worldwide issue reports in which they underline the occupational hazards faced by journalists while reporting. Some African countries, such as Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia or Equatorial Guinea, have been regularly pinpointed at the bottom of these annual rankings. A few others (Cap Vert, Namibia, Niger, Ghana, South Africa) are crawling among the top 50 countries in the world. How do the indicators used by those organizations reveal a specific understanding of the professional practices and of the risks associated with it? Are they relevant to the reality of the daily practice of journalism on the African continent? Has this image led to particular measures aimed at preventing or self-regulating potential abuses in view of the risks incurred? Are there other ‘high-risk’ areas of the professional practice that these indicators fail to cover, and why? Starting from a reflection on the criteria used internationally to assess press freedom, and on the ‘risks’ associated with the profession, this article tries to show that the threats upon media professionals on the African continent are much more complex than those rankings and their indicators would suggest.


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