Pan-African Conference on Journalist Safety and Tackling Impunity
The number of journalists killed in Africa in the line of their duty, deliberately, in crossfire, and combat related circumstances has been increasing year in year out. According to the International News Safety Institute, some 199 journalists and media workers were killed in Africa between 1990 and 2006. In 2009 more journalists and associated media workers were killed than during the years before. Other journalists were attacked, arrested, injured, kidnapped or detained. These deadly attacks have brought to light that media houses in Africa do not have adequate policies and resources to protect journalists who are assigned to cover dangerous news assignments on behalf of their news media organizations.
African journalists need the establishment of enduring and effective safety standards throughout the continent so that they can do their legitimate and much-needed work to keep citizens informed. The protection of journalists engaged in dangerous assignments in armed conflict is a major concern and a key issue for achieving the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Based on these reflections, and as a regional follow-up of the UN Inter-agency meeting on the Safety of Journalists and The Issue of Impunity that took place in September 2011 in Paris, the Federation of African Journalists intends to work with UNESCO's Division of Communication and Information and the African Union Commission to organize a pan-African conference on journalists’ safety and tackling impunity. The meeting will aim to share experiences in order to devise a common strategy to tackle the issue of the safety of journalists. It will address the role of governments in ensuring the safety of journalists, the role of the African Union in promoting and protecting the safety of journalists, through use of contributions from civil society, and the best practices in legislation, law-enforcement and judicial instruments. It will also entail the preparation of a common plan of action.