Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Africa Parliament launches media freedom campaign

Africa Parliament launches media freedom campaign
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) today concluded a two-day workshop to plan for a campaign on media freedom in Africa. The workshop, which was organized by the PAP’s Committee on Justice and Human Rights, included participants from the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, UNESCO, World Association of Newspapers and Newspaper Editors, Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA), the Federation of African Journalists, AFRIMAP/OSISA, Human Rights Institute of South Africa and the South African Editors Forum. ,
In his opening address, Roger Nkodo Dang, the First Vice President of the PAP, noted that the right to freedom of press was one of the most important human rights and that it was an integral part of the right to freedom of expression, as well as being a cornerstone of democracy. He also noted that Africa did not fare very well when it came to freedom of the press.
He added that since the PAP’s mandate and objectives included the promotion of good governance, democracy and human rights in Members States of the African Union, “promotion of media freedom falls very neatly within these objectives”. It was with this in mind, therefore, “that the PAP has proposed the organization of a continent-wide campaign to promote media freedom in Africa”, he said.
On his part, the Chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights Onyango Kakoba, said that the objective of the workshop was to come out with a campaign theme, an activities plan and a resource mobilization strategy.
After much discussion, the participants agreed that the campaign would have the theme “Press Freedom for Development and Governance: Need for Reform”, with the sub-themes: Safety of Journalists and Impunity; Law Reform; Building Strong and Professional Journalism and a Sustainable Media Industry; and Access to Information.
Participants also agreed that the PAP should create a PAP Index on Media Freedom in Africa and a PAP Award for Media Freedom in Africa.
It was proposed that the PAP should kick-start its campaign during its Second Ordinary Session of the Third Parliament in May 2013 in Midrand, South Africa.

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