"End injustice of Impunity, protect safety of journalists" Says FAJ to AU legislative Body

The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the

African regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists

(IFJ), called on the legislative body of the African Union (AU), Pan-African

Parliament (PAP) to end injustice of impunity and protect safety of

journalists.

"As parliamentarians, you are readily expected by

the journalists' community in Africa to end the injustice of impunity for crimes

against journalists that has been rocking the continent and contributed to the lack

of safety for journalists," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President, addressing

yesterday PAP's select committee on justice and human rights.

It was the first time since its establishment that

the PAP addressed the issue of freedom of expression and chose to make the

safety of journalist the main issue to address in their debate on the protection

of the right to freedom of expression and they invited FAJ to address the

parliamentarians.

"African journalists are facing dual safety

crisis, the physical safety and legal safety. Many countries have openly

resorted to cause danger to the physical and legal safety of journalists, to

name few are Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon,

Ethiopia, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Burundi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe," declared

Osman.

As body with legislative powers, FAJ strongly

urged the pan-African parliamentarians to adopt legislations and policies

protecting the safety of journalists in line with its objectives to "Promote

the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa" and "Promote peace,

security and stability".

"We will all agree that there will be no human

rights or right to free expression when heinous crimes are committed against

journalists with total impunity. Come on board, end criminalisation of

journalistic work, guarantee safety of journalists who facilitate and promote

free expression," FAJ President told the African parliamentarians.

FAJ raised serious concerns over plans in South

Africa to enact information secrecy law  which will strip journalists off any legal

security to carry out their work just to cover politicians from public

scrutiny.

"The use of anti-terror laws, criminal codes and

criminalisation of defamation have shown the maximum punishment journalists face

for doing their work," said Osman who added that "Parliamentarians should urgently

work to reform these repressive and autocratic laws and end their use against

journalists".

The PAP is the legislative body of the African Union

established to provide a common platform for African peoples and their

grass-roots organisations to be more involved in discussions and

decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. In this

regard, it has recently decided to carry   out continent wide campaign

for freedom of expression with a view to adopting a continental framework

policy to protect safety of journalists. 

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