Federation of African Journalists, the African group of the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and the Eastern Africa Journalists Association
(EAJA) in a statement supported by the International Trade Union Confederation
of the African Region (ITUC-Africa) today told the 50th Ordinary
Session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR), sitting
in Banjul, The Gambia, that African continent is experiencing renewed and
aggressive premeditated attacks on journalists, and media organisations in an
attempt to control, manipulate and censor the free press and free speech.
continue to face deadly attacks, criminal charges, intimidation and harassments
by security forces and, in some cases, with manifest support of judicial
authorities," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President, who is also the Secretary
General of EAJA, during his address at the 50th session of the
African Union's human rights body.
address this august gathering of AU members States, National Human Rights
Institutions and Civil Society to highlight the repressive and precarious
conditions in which journalists work in Africa and to call on the African
Commission on Human and Peoples" Rights for urgent actions to secure effective
protection for media professionals," said Osman.
elucidate the concerns, FAJ and EAJA stated that Somalia still remains the most
deadly country to be a journalist and practice journalism in Africa as media
professionals continue to pay the ultimate price. Two journalists were killed
within one month in Mogadishu and the African Union peacekeeping troops in
Somalia (AMISOM) are the prime suspects of these killings, though AMISOM
admitted the murder of one journalist.
September 2011, journalists and the free expression community commemorated the
10th anniversary of the brutal repression on the right to freedom of
expression in Eritrea which has been decidedly hostile to media over the last
decade and has the largest number of journalists, about 30, serving in jail, in
extremely pathetic conditions and are kept incommunicado. Access to the country
is limited and there is very little information about the conditions of the
journalists, four of whom are reported to have died in dreadful military
prisons. Eritrea is today the worst jailer of journalists in Africa.
journalists, among them two from Sweden, have been charged under anti-terror
laws by the Ethiopian government which is also threatening other journalists
under the same legislation which led many more to flee into exile. The climate
of fear brought by the renewed squelching has severely limited the rights of
journalists to do their work and impacted on the free flow of information in a
country that already has restrictive laws against media freedom.
Sudanese security forces have sustained their onslaught on editors and
reporters of the print media in Khartoum, charging a number of them with crimes
based on despicable laws and harassing individual journalists, raiding media
outlets and confiscating copies of newspapers. Before and after the
presidential pardon of Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir to detained
journalists in August 2011, harassment, intimidation and attacks on journalists
by the security apparatchik in Khartoum continue unabated.
shrinking space for press freedom and protection of journalists in Burundi is
another issue of great concern to the African journalists' community. The
government of Burundi has intensified it efforts to create and instill fear in
the hearts of journalists through direct attacks and the deployment of
sophisticated tactics to pile pressure on journalists. Burundi has issued the
largest number of summons to a particular journalist on the continent in this
current year. Security forces of Burundi continue to trail and spy on
journalists, including the top leadership of Union Burundaise des Journalists.
Two media outlets have sacked 25 journalists under the pretext of financial
operational difficulties. However, we have strong cause to believe that these
journalists were sacked on the basis of pressure from the authorities on the
media owners because of these journalists' critical and independent reporting.
Nigeria, militia groups continue to kidnap, attack and kill journalists as part
of their strategies to gain publicity and visibility as well as deplore fear
against the state and entire populace. On Saturday 22nd October
2011, in Maiduguri, Northeast Nigeria, a journalist was shot dead by the
notorious Boko Haram sect.
recent months, violence against journalists and the media community has
intensified in DRC. Gunmen murdered one journalist in June; dozens of others
were beaten, assaulted by the security forces (eight in two months). Arsonists
razed two media houses down. All these acts have gone uninvestigated, while
justice for the victims and owners of the outfits is in limbo. As the country
approaches the elections on 28 November, intolerance, intimidation, threats and
other degrading practices against journalists may make an already precarious
detentions, threats, harassment, intimidation, repressive laws and violence
have been used against journalists and other media personnel. The Cameroonian
authorities continue to endanger the safety and security of journalists and
randomly detain journalists without charge.
the government of President Yoweri Museveni continues its repressive acts on
the media, with security personnel beating and injuring a number of journalists
during the "walk to work" protests. People who carried out these acts as well
as previous ones have gone uninvestigated and unprosecuted. Clearly, the state
and the Government of Uganda tacitly and openly support impunity. As supporting
evidence, on the 12th of October 2011 during his Presidential
address, President Yoweri Museveni publicly and verbally insulted and assaulted
a journalist, calling him an idiot in response to the current oil bribery
crisis rocking the Ugandan parliament.
to the Commission to take all necessary actions aimed at effective protection
of journalists, especially by calling on the states concerned to decisively
pursue accountability and justice so as to rein in impunity for crimes committed
against journalists," added Osman.
For more information
contact the FAJ at +221 33 867 95 86/87
The FAJ represents over
50,000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa