Friday, May 3, 2013

Gambia and Ethiopia Are among the nations holding journalists in jail

As the world celebrates world press freedom day today May 3, there are lot of journalist in Africa who are behind bars and others killed for carrying their responsibilities’ to the public.

At least 41 African journalists will spend World Press Freedom Day imprisoned in direct reprisal for their work, according to a letter sent to the African Union on the celebration of world press freedom day.

“.It is particularly disturbing that Ethiopia and the Gambia, which host offices of the African Union, are among the nations holding journalists in jail” it stated.

In bid to protect and promote freedom of the press,The Committee to Protect Journalists has asks NkosazanaDlaminiZuma, chairperson of the African Union, to uphold press freedom by calling for justice in journalist murders in Africa and for the release of all imprisoned journalists.

In letter addressed to H.E. NkosazanaDlaminiZuma Addis chairperson of the African Union asked the AUto mark World Press Freedom by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty?

“These imprisonments have silenced important voices, often in contravention of regional and international rulings” it further stated

“The Gambia, home to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, is in violation of rulings by the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States and the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in connection with the 2007 arrest of journalist Ebrima "Chief" Manneh” it stated adding, “These entities found Manneh's detention to be unlawful, and they called for his immediate release. Alarmingly, Gambian authorities cannot account for Manneh's whereabouts, and over the years have given evasive and inconsistent responses to regional and international inquiries”.

According to the CPJ research, more than 80 journalist murders have gone unsolved in Africa since 1992, and these killings are often politically motivated.

“critical journalists are not criminals, traitors, or terrorists. Beyond supporting African journalists with training, the African Union should create an open political space that allows news media to report on issues of public interest. Vibrant, independent media that hold government leaders to account are a valuable ally in the pursuit of development and good governance. We urge you to use your office to persuade member states to comply with the letter and spirit of conventions they have signed that uphold press freedom.” It ends

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) will also mark the World Press Freedom Day today the 3rd of May 2013. The celebrations will take a form of a procession from the Africal Building and terminate at the TANGO conference hall and Union shall hold a talk on a local theme “Policy Dialogue on Freedom of Expression”

Author: Binta A Bah


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