Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, May 3rd, 2022 – Paradigm Initiative joins the world in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day which serves as a day of reflection about issues of press freedom and also a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to media freedom. This year, International Human Rights Day is commemorated under the theme: Journalism under digital siege. This year’s theme focuses on how the media are in danger of multiple digital surveillance strategies and attacks on journalists in the conduct of their work.
Freedom of the media is the fundamental right of various forms of media offline and online media to operate freely without undue restriction or censorship. It is in line with article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Human and Peoples’ Rights yet we see a number of African States violating media freedoms in Africa. In Nigeria for instance, the media are subjected to harassment while conducting their role to report and in Malawi, a journalist Gregory Gondwe was arbitrarily detained on 5 April and ordered to reveal his sources in violation of media freedoms. In Zimbabwe, Hopewell Chin’ono has been charged for unearthing corruption online, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, journalists continue to face assaults and arbitrary arrests, threatening their ability to report on critical issues or to cover protests. Against this backdrop, journalism offline and online is imperiled.
Principle 20(2) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information clearly calls on States to take measures to prevent attacks on journalists and other media practitioners, including murder, extra-judicial killing, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest, and detention, enforced disappearance, kidnapping, intimidation, threats and unlawful surveillance undertaken by State and non-State actors. PIN pays tribute to the media as their role is critical in ensuring everyone accesses information. We call on African states to respect media freedoms in line with their obligations under article 9 of the African Charter and to guarantee a safe online space for the media to operate.
Media freedom violations can be reported on Ripoti, a platform for the public to report digital rights violations in Africa.
ABOUT PARADIGM INITIATIVE:
Paradigm Initiative works to ensure digital empowerment and promote a positive rights
environment, supporting public policy towards Internet Freedom in Africa through a diverse
team of 29, working out of sub-regional offices in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia
For further information, please contact:
Valery Njiaba | Communications Officer | Paradigm Initiative, Yaba, Lagos