AMDF worries over violation of press freedom in Africa


Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) has expressed deep concern over violation of press freedom and the harsh condition in which the media operates in Africa.
In a statement on Tuesday in Kaduna, the foundation said the recent presentation by the President, Congress of African Journalists, Christopher Isiguzo, on the state of press freedom in Africa, during the 2nd Africa Media Convention, which held in Lusaka, Zambia, on May 11- 13, 2023, is upsetting.
Isiguzo, had in the presentation, noted the deplorable status of press fredom in Africa, with particular reference to Central Africa sub-region, “where sit tight leaders”, continually stifle the freedom of the press and human rights.
The statement jointly signed by Sekyen Dadik, its Executive Director and Umar Kumo, Senior Researcher, Press Freedom, said it is disturbed by the Lusaka revelation and the horrifying conditions under which journalists and media organisations operate in the region.
“Reports compiled by prominent institutions dealing with issues of press freedom, including the International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House and VOA, among others, indicated gross violations of press freedom in all the eight countries of the region with Cameroon coming top on the list”, the statement reads.
“Cases of threats, intimidation, harassment, jailing, and even killings of journalists have continued with impunity.
“Of recent, Paul Chouta, a reporter said to be critical of Paul Biya’s policies spent two years in prison while Samuel Wazizi who worked for Cilen Music Television did not survive to tell his ordeal after he was abducted in 2019 and tortured to death in 2020 for allegedly supporting Anglophone separatist”.
According to the statement, “In January 2023, the mutilated body of Martinez Zogo a popular radio personality was found in Yaounde, five days after he was abducted by unknown individuals.
“The dead body of Jean Jacques Bebe another radio presenter was found outside his home in the capital on February 2.
“The slain journalists were said to be running radio programs digging into corruption and critical of senior government officials.”
The AMDF further lamented that, “The situation is the same and even worse in places like DRC, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea.
The statement stressed that, “In Congo, for example, journalists are faced with real threats, arbitrary arrest, torture, and imprisonment for criticizing the government, reporting corruption, or granting interviews to opposition parties.”
The AMDF also noted that, “even in less hostile environments like Nigeria, journalists, and media organisations faced serious intimidation, harassment and fines at the hands of security agents and media regulatory agencies, particularly during elections.”
The foundation called on “relevant national, regional and international institutions and agencies to redouble efforts, including legal processes to strengthen press freedom, not only in Africa, but globally.”
It urged Western nations to “impose diplomatic sanctions on such despotic leaders that do not have respect for human rights and freedoms.”
It further called on, Western financial institutions to stop providing a safe haven for corrupt leaders who steal and impoverish their people and “stop supporting corruption in Africa by rejecting and exposing the proceeds of corruption stashed in their financial institutions.”
The statement said, “The AMDF believe strongly that for press freedom to be strengthened political leaders, especially in Africa must have respect for human rights and freedom as enshrined in their constitutions, AU and United Nations Charters on Freedom of Expression, Life and Association.
It maintained that, “Political leaders must be held accountable for their actions under relevant laws.
It said, “Journalists and media organizations should be seen and considered as responsible citizens rather than a threat, who are carrying out their normal duties and responsibilities as watchdogs in society.”


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