Representatives of Journalists Unions and Associations in Africa have expressed grave concern about the escalation of acts of violence against journalists.

This was contained in a resolution at the end of a two-day workshop at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from September 2-3.

It urged the AU Commission to draw the attention of the Heads of State and Government “to the situations in which the exercise of journalists’ rights are restricted, violated or denied.”

The resolution also called on the AU Commission to suggest efficient measures not only to stop such situations but also to prevent them by adopting actions to promote journalists’ rights and disseminate among all social and professional groupings, a culture of respect of the right to the independence of the media.

It called on African Nations to reiterate their commitment to respect their responsibilities in relation to journalists, under international law and under the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights and of the role of the media, as an essential instrument to democracy and good governance.

The resolution urged the AU Commission to actively encourage all African States, which have neither signed nor ratified the additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions, which requires the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel.

The resolution also condemned all forms of violence, including murder, intimidation, abduction, hostage-taking, kidnapping, sexual violence and harassment to which media personnel and associated workers are exposed.

The participants urged the AU to adopt the workshop’s resolution on “Safety and protection of journalist” at its upcoming summit, as a continental policy framework and to show African ownership and leadership on the safety on journalists.

Thirty-eight participants, made up of representatives of journalists’ unions and associations in Africa and observers from the AU Commission, United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, Human Rights Organisations in Africa, International Federation of Journalists, National Union of Journalists of the United Kingdom and the International Trade Union Confederation attended the workshop.

The Ghana Journalist Association was represented at the workshop by General Secretary Bright Blewu.

Source: GNA