#WPFD Togo: “Media independence means the ability for journalists to work without fear”

AGBOKA Koffi Agbévavi is a web journalist and director of Empreinte News. He is a member of the Union of Independent Journalists of Togo (UJIT). A human rights activist, he is committed to social justice and transition.

Credit: IFJ AGBOKA Koffi Agbévavi

1- What is your greatest concern for press freedom in your country?

"The biggest concern is security. There must be real security for communication professionals in the exercise of their profession both in the field and in their offices. Safety also concerns the information we have to process and make available to readers, listeners, viewers and Internet users, as well as our working tools and the different sources of information available to journalists to carry out their work".

 2- What are your daily challenges as a journalist?

"My challenges are legion, but the most important is access to reliable sources of information. In a world where the demand for information is growing with a clear domination of digital technology, having access to reliable sources of information helps to improve the image of the journalist, to increase public trust for media professionals and to guarantee reliable information to the public.

Media independence is another challenge for me because it helps provide a fair hearing of all voices in communities we cover and for the press to contribute to rebuilding a social fabric that has been "torn apart" for political or economic reasons. Ensuring the independence of the media allows journalists to work in total independence and free from fear, without favouring one side or the other.

Funding is also needed to guarantee independence and allow journalists to pursue their careers, report and challenge the public and decision-makers to take action to improve people's lives. Finally, networks of journalists should be strengthened to share experiences in specific areas".

 3- What are the most important issues to be addressed at this time?

"The impact of coronavirus on vital sectors (education, health, economy...). It is necessary to prepare the post-coronavirus period by looking for ways to overcome the pandemic and find opportunities for media coverage. The press must also inform about local products by indicating their prices, contacts and means of transport from producers to consumers".

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