The President of the Federation of African Journalist (FAJ), Mohammed Garba has urged African governments to respect the professional and fundamental rights of journalists, media staff and associated personnel.
Mohammed Garba was speaking Wednesday 23 October, in Banjul, The Gambia, to the plenary of the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACPHR). “We urge African governments to properly investigate all violations on the rights of journalists and to protect their safety in the interest of democracy, good governance and the rule of law,” Garba said.
He stated that during the last six months, journalists in the continent continued to face untold hardship. “The intimidation and harassment of journalists in the continent had reached alarming proportions, while the forceful arrest and incommunicado detention of journalists on very vague and frivolous charges; the willful destruction of media equipment and forceful closure of media houses, had become the norm in most African countries,” Garba expressed.
FAJ, he said, believes that the consistent issuing of death threats and the killing of journalists with impunity had dented quality journalism in the continent frightening journalists into self-censorship, while a good number of journalists continue to flee their homes into exile because of the fear of reprisals from governments and other non state actors.
“It is sad to note that in Africa today, the most effective way of silencing journalists and killing the truth is by murder with impunity. The killing of journalists with impunity continues with reckless abandon. Somalia remains the deadliest country for journalists with six journalists already killed this year,” Garba told the Commission
The safety and security of journalists in the continent remains a top priority for FAJ. Since 2010, FAJ had made tremendous inroads in collaborating with the African Union Commission to bring to the door steps of the Assembly of Heads of State the situation concerning the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. Presently, FAJ is involved in a continental campaign to lobby the African Union and its member states to support the Resolution on the Safety and Security of Journalists.
The FAJ President, Mohammed Garba led the FAJ delegation which attended the NGOs’ Forum preceding the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). FAJ has been granted observer status to ACHPR since April this year and Mohamed Garba seized the opportunity to make his maiden address to the Commission on Wednesday, 23 October.
FAJ represents more than 50.000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa