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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

World Press Freedom Day 2017: African editors wants media freedom restriction laws abolished

The African Editors Forum (TAEF) has reiterated calls to heads of states and governments to, as a matter of urgency, to abolish all laws that restrict media freedom, reports ITRealms.

Chairperson, African Editors Forum, Jovial Rantao, in a press statement made available to ITRealms, also called on African states to recognize the indivisibility of press freedom and their responsibility to respect their commitments to African and international protocols upholding the freedom, independence and safety of the press.

“On this day, our thoughts go out to the many journalists and editors who are languishing in jails across the continent, simply for doing their work. One of these is Ahmed Abba, a journalist in Cameroon who was tried in a military court and handed a 10 year sentence with a hefty fine. Seven other journalists in Cameroon are on trial,” Rantao said.

She also said, TAEF is seriously concerned about the deteriorating state of media freedom and strongly deplores the intimidation, by the government of Zambia, of journalists and editors. Three journalists have appeared in court, charged with spurious crimes - all in an effort to intimidate them and dissuade them from telling the truth fairly and honestly.

TAEF, according to Rantao, remains worried about media freedom violations which are taking a growing toll on African journalists.

“We are concerned about the deterioration of media freedom in  South Sudan, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Djibouti, Burundi Nigeria, Mali and Eritrea,” she said.

Further, TAEF urged African governments to recommit themselves to the Windhoek Declaration and the Declaration of Table Mountain.

“Both declarations condemned, in the strongest terms, all forms of repression of African media that allows for banning of newspapers and the use of other devices such as levying import duties on newsprint and printing material as well as withholding government advertising,” she lamented.

TAEF emphasized that African governments should release jailed journalists for their professional activities immediately and allow journalists who have been forced into exile to return to their countries.

African states must promote the highest standards of press freedom in furtherance of the principles proclaimed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other protocols and to provide constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press.


Uj. Dominic/GEE
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