AU launches continent-wide digital platform to monitor attacks on journalists

EYEAFRICA TV: Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA:- African Union has today launched the first digital online platform aimed at improving the protection of journalists.

The platform known as the “Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa,” is aimed at addressing threats and violence against journalists, fostering early warning mechanisms, and enhancing response capacity within the continent.

The launch is being presided over by Cyril Ramaphosa Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Republic of South Africa.

“We look to this digital platform to contribute to an enabling environment for the media to operate in AU member states through respect for the rights of journalists and media workers and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists,” Ramaphosa said during the lunching.

“Fifty years from now, when Africa celebrates the achievements of Agenda 2063, we will look back with pride at this moment, and at the role that the Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists will have played to end the harassment, detention and even murder of journalists,” he added.

He urged all Africans, all institutions, and all heads of state and leaders of government to support the historic project.

The journalists’ safety platform will facilitate real time response across Africa with a view to ending impunity for attacks against African journalists including harassment, arbitrary arrests, assault and killing. It will constitute a cooperative mechanism to keep track of attacks against journalists in the continent, and support reporting on attacks as well as follow-up actions to combat impunity.

It will also help create synergies among African media stakeholders in holding the perpetrators of violence against journalists and media outlets to account.

The digital platform will notably monitor: 

  • Threats to the physical integrity and security of journalists and other media actors (including bloggers, writers, human right defenders and other persons communicating in the public interest);
  • Impunity in the abovementioned cases;
  • Threats to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources or threat to their physical integrity and security relating to their collaboration with journalists, media or human right defenders or organizations;
  • Threats to journalists’ privacy;
  • Restrictions on media freedom such as judicial and political intimidation of journalists (including hate speech and incitement to violence against journalists).

The platform was inspired by the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalists and Safety of Journalists and has been developed by African stakeholders, with support from UNESCO via its Multi-donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and the Safety of Journalists (MDP).

It will be sustained through a joint mobilization of partnering organizations, namely four organs of the African Union (Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, of AU-ACHPR, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the African Governance Architecture (AGA), the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights), Civil Society Organizations, media networks and development partners.

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