As the African Union’s theme for this year is “silencing the guns − owning the future”, FAJ is celebrating this Africa Day to remember journalists who were killed or died in the line of duty and journalists who are still in jail because of their professional work. FAJ recommits itself to the fight for the safety and security of journalists as well as to vehemently defend the rights and welfare of journalists in Africa in ensuring a better life.
“After 57 years, as Africans we have every reason to celebrate what we have achieved so far, but African journalists still need to mobilise on 25 May and beyond to confront the many challenges we still face and increase the tempo of the struggle for a just and equitable society where media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information are truly respected as shared values of the Africans,” said Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, FAJ President.
Journalists in Africa are still confronted with a situation where their human rights as stipulated in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance are consistently violated by the very governments that ratified these instruments. There is an incessant oppression of media independence and freedom of information in every corner of the continent.
“It does not make sense to speak of the silencing of the guns when journalists are continuously killed with impunity and perpetrators of these heinous crimes are still walking freely along the streets of our capitals. Many of our basic rights have become paper tigers and this has to change; We must turn the guns away from journalists and all human rights defenders, if Africa is to advance in its democracy, justice, peace, stability and socio-economic development” added Ahmed.
“We are aware of the daily abuses, beatings, arrests, murder and censorship African journalists are being subjected to. We are aware that the justice system is failing many of them. We are aware that as we celebrate Africa Day, more and more media houses are pondering different options to mistreat journalists and further lower their living standards,” averred FAJ President.
The Federation of African Journalists wishes to urge journalists and their unions in the continent to step up the campaign against the further degradation of journalists’ working conditions and living standards. The crisis of abysmal working conditions must inspire journalists and other media workers to intensify the struggle against noticeable abuses.