The FAJ Calls on African Governments to End Impunity

from International Federation of Journalists
Published on 23 Nov 2011

On this day when the whole world is celebrating the International Day Against Impunity for crimes committed against journalists, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), calls on the African Union and governments to take bold initiatives in order to end the unbearable impunitythe perpetrators of the worst crimes against journalists enjoy in Africa. Indeed, in several African countries, the violence and intolerance against journalists do not abate, despite the declarations and commitments taken by leaders to respect human and peoples’ rights.

This is an opportunity to remind that 26 journalists were murdered in Somalia since 2007, three of them during the current year 2011.Several other Somali journalists were injured in attacks aiming at their physical elimination. In the Democratic Republic of Congo,where the tradition of murdering at least one journalist per year is firmly entrenched since 2005, 8 lives were taken at no cost by men fearing neither God nor man and the commissioners of such disgraceful acts have never been made accountable to justice. Over 30 journalists are still languishing today in Eritrean jails which are turning into a death bed for them without any hope that justice and the rule of law shall overcomedictatorship.

In other countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Gambia and Nigeria, the administrative pressures, harassment, intimidations, the targeted assaults by security forces,arbitrary arrests and death threats are the daily lot of journalists who are often forced to choose the road of exile in order to save their lives. In any case, there is total impunity and this is a scandal today and a major impediment to the freedom of the media, freedom of expression and democracy in Africa.

The celebration of this day against impunityis not only an opportunity to denounce thes till prosperous crime industry in Africa, but also the total and guilty indifference of African leaders in the face of such crime committed daily against journalists, and also to remind that crimes against journalists are crimes against society at large. In this respect, « impunityhas become a serious scourge which has to be fought against relentlessly and with great resolve as it constitutesan impediment to the growth of democracy in the continent,and to the development of our society », has said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.

TheFAJ is launching a vibrant call to the various African governments that they should comply with the commitments taken in the framework of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738 as well as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Resolution about the protection and safety of journalists and media professionals in Africa and prosecute before a court of justice the perpetrators and commissioners of the murders of journalists. It urges the journalist community not to give up the fight and to continue to get mobilized for justice to be rendered not only to the families of the journalists murdered, but also to the numerous media workers unfairly dismissed by their employers without enjoying none of the benefits acknowledged by the law.

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