The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African Regional Organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), welcomes the historic move of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) to adopt a landmark resolution on the safety of journalists and media practitioners in Africa.
The resolution, which expressed concern over "declining safety and security situation of journalists and media practitioners in some African countries", noted that "killings, attacks and kidnapping of journalists, which are contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law, are often committed in an environment of impunity".
To ensure the protection of journalists' safety, the African Commission appealed to member States of the African Union "to fulfil their obligation of preventing, and investigating crimes against journalists, as well as bringing the perpetrators to justice".
The resolution, the first ever decision of African Union organization on the safety of journalists, also urged "all parties involved in situations of armed conflicts to respect the independence and freedom of journalists and media practitioners to exercise their profession and guarantee their safety and security in accordance with international humanitarian law".
"We are delighted that the African Commission on Human and People's Rights recognised the importance of the safety and protection of journalists in Africa," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.
"This resolution could not come at more critical time than the present where journalists in Africa whose safety is severely and deliberately endangered badly need protection more than ever in order to tell the story of Africa and exercise the right to free expression and free press" added Osman.
The draft resolution on the safety of journalists and media practitioners in Africa was drawn up by the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in close cooperation with ARTICLE 19.
FAJ embarked on a campaign to promote the safety and the protection of journalists since March 2010 and proactively engaged the African Union Commission (AUC) in September 2010 where a regional event on safety of journalists was co-hosted by AUC and FAJ in Addis Ababa with the support from major partners, the British Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the National Union of Journalists of UK and Ireland (NUJ).
For more information contact the FAJ at +221 33 867 95 86/87
The FAJ represents over 50,000 journalists in 38 countries in Africa
International Federation of Journalists
Africa Regional Office
3rd Floor, Immeuble Seynabou, VDN-Sicap Sacré Cœur III
BP 64257, Dakar Senegal
Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02 50