Ensuring the Protection of African Journalists

Threats to African journalists are nothing new, but the African Union is launching a website to track and monitor threats against them, in a bid to improve protections for media workers and support the right to freedom of the expression. Six African journalists were killed in 2020, according to the International Federation of Journalists. Countless more were threatened, arrested, harassed, and censored, according to several media freedom and human rights groups. That, the African Union is now saying, has to stop. And to do that, they’re making use of journalists’ most powerful tool: facts. A new AU website, www.safetyofjournalistsinafrica.africa, launched Friday, and will now track threats to African journalists. “It requires that we rigorously defend the right of journalists to do their work, to write, to publish, and to also broadcast what they like, even if we disagree with some or all of it,” Ramaphosa said. “Africa is on the march to entrench a culture of human rights, of democracy, gender equality, inclusion, peace, prosperity, security for all our citizens, and unfettered media freedom and independence.  The digital platform for the safety of journalists in Africa is an important tool in promoting the safety of journalists and other media workers across Africa.” But, media freedom advocates were quick to point out, that doesn’t mean journalists are without responsibilities.


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