Home | News    Saturday 4 May 2013

AU urged to stand for press freedom and protection of journalists


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 3, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - As the globe marks the World Press Freedom Day on Friday, the international press rights group, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), called on the African Union (AU) to do more to promote press freedom and protect journalists.

In an open letter it sent to AU chairperson Nkosazana Zuma, CPJ urged the organisation to play a leading role in efforts to secure the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa.

“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”, said CPJ’s executive director, Joel Simon.

The press advocacy group further appealed for justice for all African journalists killed in the course of duty.

According to CPJ research, at least 80 journalists were murdered in the continent since 1992, with no-one yet held accountable for their deaths.

At least 41 African journalists are said to be spending World Press Freedom Day imprisoned in direct reprisal for carrying out their journalistic duty.

Nigeria, where five journalists have been killed with impunity since 2009 and Somalia, where journalists are routinely executed, were labelled among the worst nations globally in combating deadly, anti-press violence.

The CPJ also expressed alarm that Ethiopia and the Gambia, which host offices of the AU, are among the nations currently holding journalists in detention.

“These imprisonments have silenced important voices, often in contravention of regional and international rulings”, Simon said.

With seven journalists behind bars, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s foremost jailers of journalists, behind neighbouring Eritrea, where at least 30 journalists are behind bars.

Meanwhile, an Ethiopian court on Thursday rejected an appeal in the case of blogger Eskinder Nega who was convicted on terrorism-related charges, upholding an 18-year prison sentence.

The CPJ called for Eskinder, a 2012 laureate of the PEN American Centre and prominent government critic, to be released immediately, describing the charges against him as “fabricated”.

In reaction to the court ruling, CPJ’s Africa advocacy coordinator, Mohamed Keita said: “This ruling trivialises the serious crime of terrorism, upholds a politically motivated travesty of justice, and lessens Ethiopia’s international standing”.

“As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Ethiopia should comply with its obligations under international law and its own constitution and release Eskinder unconditionally. The persecution of Eskinder and other journalists is the hallmark of a regime fearful of the opinions of its citizens”, he added.

The New York-based press freedom group has also called for the release of Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu, the 2013 UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize winner, who is serving a five-year term also on terrorism-related charges.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, among other international institutions, have in the past censured Ethiopia for the imprisonment of Reeyot and other journalists facing lengthy prison terms under the country’s overly broad anti-terrorism laws.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

South Sudan Health Sector: the untold story 2019-11-21 20:08:17 "It is what is unsaid that divides the people" Dr Francis Deng Majok By Pal Chol To begin with, Juba Teaching Hospital is the main National Referral Hospital which falls under the jurisdiction (...)

Identity issue in South Sudan 2019-11-21 20:08:03 WE ARE NATIONALITIES AND NOT ONE PEOPLE ONE NATION By Kim Gai Ruot One Nation is defined as people with one ethnicity, language and common origin. South Sudanese do not have common descent, (...)

War crimes, post-traumatic stress disorder and reconciliation in South Sudan 2019-11-21 12:09:50 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi Recently I wrote several damning Facebook posts about others and republished my article titled “Collusion and Harmful Actions against South Sudan Peace Process” in which (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.