African media stakeholders have launched their first digital online platform dedicated to the safety of journalists. Launched on on 29 January, the new platform aims to develop early warning mechanisms, improve the protection of journalists, address threats and violence against them, and enhance response capacity within the continent.
Some of the immediate actions after the launch will include organizing the capacity building of the regional media networks and the civil society organizations participating in this initiative. Focus areas will include monitoring, verifying and reporting on violations of media freedom. Raising awareness on the Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa will also be prioritized and cooperative mechanisms to keep track of attacks against journalists in Africa, and support reporting on attacks will be present on the platform for individuals to use.
President of the Republic of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore indicated that Africa’s march towards achieving the Agenda 2063’s goals must include the need to protect free and independent media. This is reflected in the platform’s number of supporters, including the AU African Peer Review Mechanism, AU African Governance Architecture, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Editors Forum, Federation of African Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists pledged their support, and organizations such as Article 19, BBC Media Action, Free Press Unlimited, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
UNESCO’s Director General, Audrey Azoulay, lauded the platform as a valuable tool, saying she is “very pleased to see the exceptional mobilization today, which brings us together and speaks to the importance given by the African Union and its Member States to the safety of journalists.”
For more information, the digital platform can be found at https://safetyofjournalistsinafrica.africa/