Journalists continue to be the professional group most likely to come under attack whenever a political crisis breaks out. At the height of the festive season, journalists in Belarus and the Ivory Coast found themselves under attack following post-election violence. In Belarus, at least 20 journalists were reported to have been jailed after the December 19th election in the midst of the most brutal repression as security agents raided offices of the country's independent and pro-opposition press, their equipment confiscated and their lawyers forced to sign gagging orders. Aleksandr Lukashenko, who won a fourth term, pledged to make journalists "answer for every word they write”.
In the Ivory Coast, the contested runoff between incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and challenger Alassane Ouattara is leading the country to the brink of civil war. Several hundred civilians have already died and media professionals have been the first to suffer intimidation and censorship at the hands of warring faction. All the international news reports and channels relayed by Canal+ were suspended and soldiers of the Republican Guard, supporting the former president Gbagbo, reportedly raided printing houses in Abidjan to prevent the printing of Le Jour Plus, Le Mandat, L'Expression, Nord-Sud, Le Patriote, Le Démocrate and Le Nouveau Réveil. French media and UN Radio have also been targeted while the UN Radio was seemingly jammed by the national radio.
2011 will see 16 presidential elections in Africa.