Over 700 participants, representing journalists’ unions, media organisations, governments, human rights and freedom of expression organisations in the 25th UNESCO Press Freedom Day International Conference held in Accra on 2-3 May, adopted the Accra Declaration.
The Accra Declaration, which included recommendations to member states, UNESCO and the media community, emphasised in its preamble "that media freedom and independence cannot exist where journalists live in poverty and fear." It called on the states to "recognise, in law and in practice, the right to freedom of association for media workers," and on employers to respect journalists' "social rights including by providing fair payment, working conditions and insurance for media workers."
"In the face of complex issues and unprecedented challenges facing journalism today, we welcome the reaffirmation of the simple fact that journalists unions are vital for the protection of journalists and the defense of their social and professional rights. Without these rights the mission of journalism is in grave danger." said Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary.
The meeting also called on UNESCO to "support, where they do not already exist, official regional bodies and mechanisms with a mandate to promote and protect the right to freedom of expression."
"We are looking forward to continuing our close cooperation with UNESCO, journalists unions, human rights organisations, states’ institutions and regional bodies towards the establishment of a regional mechanism to support media freedom in the Arab World." said Monir Zaarour, IFJ Director of Policy and Programmes in the Arab World, who was a member of the Drafting Committee of Accra Declaration.
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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries