State security agents accounted for a majority of violations recorded in the first half of 2018 (January-June) according to the Freedom of Expression (FOE) in Africa Situation Report produced by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX).
Out of a total of 123 violations recorded in 25 countries state security agents were responsible for 69 of them. The violations occurred in countries in East, West and Southern and Central Africa. Some of the violations recorded included physical assault, arbitrary arrests and detentions, confiscation of equipment belonging to journalists. Sadly, security agents were also responsible for three incidents of killings which involved protesters.
Other perpetrators of the FOE violations cited in the FOE Situation in Africa Report included unidentified individuals, political party affiliates, officials working with government ministries, agencies etc.
Altogether, a total of 106 identified victims suffered directly from the 123 recorded violations. Eighty-one of victims were male journalists, while five of them were females. The remaining violations were against media organisations and ordinary citizens.
According to the report, obtaining justice for victims of freedom of expression and assembly violations remain a serious challenge. Most often, perpetrators of these FOE violations are left unpunished. During the period under review, however, a few remedial actions were taken in some of the countries cited.