On the occasion of this year’s Right to Know Day, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African Regional Organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has today commemorated the starring role that journalists play in promoting this right and the challenges facing journalists in the African Continent as the messengers that deliver information.
Journalists in the continent continue to face serious challenges including intimidation, arrests, risks of being jailed and even death, in the process of gathering, processing and disseminating information to promote and facilitate people’s right to know.
“We celebrate the modest gains we continue to achieve in widening the space for media freedom to assist the free flow of information and to exercise our right to know but also to critically reflect on the challenges that journalists face in exercising that freedom,” said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.
The situation in many African countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon and Zimbabwe, and a number of others, continue to present challenges, making it difficult for journalists to know the critical information to help the citizens exercise their right to know.
“When journalists’ right to know is in danger, all other human rights are also endangered. So in this understanding, let us continue to stand for journalists’ rights, press freedom and freedom of information,” added Osman.
Many of the African governments had ratified international and regional conventions and protocols on the right to free expression but had failed to implement them, raising serious questions about their commitment to promoting the right to access information, which was also provided for in the constitutions of some of the countries.
“This is a moment to remember and honour our journalists colleagues who have been killed or maimed in the line of duty and those being held in jails under cruel conditions for making it possible for people in their countries to exercise and enjoy their right to know,” added Osman.
The FAJ said the continental body of journalists will not take a softer line in its quest to advocate for progressive legal and policy environments for the media and freedom of information in different African countries and urged the Africa governments to expedite the process of adopting progressive access to information legislations. FAJ constituted a Commission dedicated to promote, protect and defend freedom of information (FOI).
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