Magoosh GRE

Human rights and press speech freedom

| March 14, 2015

The aim of the present research is to investigate how the presence of civil societies such as Human Rights Groups has helped improve the freedom of the press across Africa. I will investigate the difference in the democratic circumstances of the countries who embrace these groups and those who would rather ‘co-opt or muzzle them’, such as Tanzania and Uganda as pointed out by Theorist Mutual (2009). This I believe will give a clearer indication of whether these groups have any impact or not and how much of it.
These effects can be seen to be vastly significant for a number of reasons as the aim of these groups is to instil notions such as basic human rights, freedom of speech being one of them. A knowledge of their impact can lead to a better understanding as to how much they have improved the freedom of the press across Africa. These pressure groups have been seen to “provide a mouthpiece for groups and interests that are not adequately represented through the electoral process or by political parties.(Palgrave, 2008. Pg. 137) Giving merit to the concept that “pressure groups can exert influence in a variety of ways”.( Palgrave, 2008. Pg.139)
In countries where these groups have been suffocated, such as Ethiopia and other parts of East Africa, it is said that “state elites are more able to easily manipulate and manage change to their advantage”(Mutua, 2009. Pg.4) However where progression is present such as Central African Republic freedom to inform and express opinions are seen as fundamental rights of the countries citizens since a new constitution was introduced in 2005. Due to this, freedom of press is partly free in Central African Republic. In Eritrea however, “a government ban on all privately owned media was imposed in September 2001, Eritrea remains one of the harshest environments worldwide for the press and is a leading jailer of journalists in Africa”.(World Audit)
In this respect the present topic is valuable because through different findings, We can establish how much impact the countries in which Human Rights pressure groups are most active in is made in regards to improving freedom of press.
Several thinkers have looked at matters that relate in one aspect or the other to my research. One of which is Gunnila L. Faringer (1995), who in looks at the history of the struggle that is freedom of press in Africa, delving into issues such as politics and the independence of Africa. History is an important aspect for my study as it is a good way of monitoring progression and what assisted that progression.
Another theorist is Makau Mutua (2009) who has looked at Human rights and other civil societies in Africa and how they have helped democracy particularly in East Africa. This expands on how the existence of Human rights groups adds merit to the democratisation of Africa. Also, Baggot, R, (1995) has looked at the role that pressure groups play. Aspects such as Pressure groups and democracy are further developed to show their effectiveness and role, although this work does not only focus on Africa, it does look at the improvements that have come about in society due to these groups.
Furthermore, Palgrave Academic publishers have written about Pressure groups and the extent of their influence on politics as they are seen as the voice of society. My study will build on these works and others by taking into account all of the subjects they are about and expanding on them to develop the different sides of my research and findings.
I will use several academic resources to research my topic. Most of which will be secondary research. I will also look at commercial evidence that is recent to asses the differences in times in regards to my findings.

Baggott, R., 1995 Pressure Groups Today Manchester: Manchester University Press
Gunilla, L., 1991. Press Freedom In Africa. New York: Praeger Publishers
Mutua, M. ed., 2009. Human Rights NGOs in East Africa: Political and Normative Tensions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
Palgrave Academic Publishers, 2008. Pressure Groups [PDF] Available at: [Accessed on 14 April 2012]
World Audit,. Press Freedom Survey On 186 Countries [online] Available at: [Accessed on 14 April 2012]

Category: Essay & Dissertation Samples, Media & Journalism Essay Examples, Research Proposal Examples