BY CYRIL RAMAPHOSA
The media has a crucial role to play in the historic and continent-wide movement by Africans to build a continent of their dreams.
Our march towards the achievement of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 – of the Africa we want – requires that we nurture and protect a free and independent media.
It requires that we vigorously defend the right of journalists to do their work, to write, to publish and to broadcast what they like, even if we disagree with some or all of it.
Africa is on the march to entrench a culture of human rights, democracy, gender equality, inclusion, peace, prosperity, security for all citizens and unfettered media freedom and independence.
The Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa is an important tool in promoting the safety of journalists and other media workers across Africa.
We look to this digital platform to contribute to an enabling environment for the media to operate in AU member states through respect for the rights of journalists and media workers and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.
We urge all Africans, all institutions, and all heads of state and leaders of government to support this historic project.
Fifty years from now, when Africa celebrates the achievements of Agenda 2063, we will look back with pride at this moment, and at the role that the Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists will have played to end the harassment, detention and even murder of journalists.
This would have been done while entrenching the rights enshrined in Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and in the Windhoek Declaration.
This Digital Platform will help improve awareness on the importance of media freedom and the safety of journalists in the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 aspirations.
We congratulate the African Editors Forum, Unesco, the International Federation of Journalists, the African Federation of Journalists, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Peer Review Mechanism and other AU partners on the launch of this worthy project.
We pledge to provide support to the digital platform through the relevant structures and institutions of the African Union.
We support and endorse this initiative to give practical support to the right of all Africans to freely receive information and to express and disseminate their views.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is Chairperson of the African Union and President of South Africa
BY ROCH MARC CHRISTIAN KABORE
I congratulate the African Editors Forum, Unesco and other stakeholders for the launch of the digital platform for the safety of journalists in Africa.
The media have a crucial role to play in the life of our societies, in search of better-being for our populations. Africa’s march towards achieving the goals of Agenda 2063 must include the need to protect free and independent media.
We have a duty to vigorously defend the right of journalists to do their job of collecting, publishing and disseminating information, even if we do not agree with all or part of what is said or written. This is the very essence of their profession and their indispensable contribution to the governance of our countries. Burkina Faso remains committed to press freedom and media independence.
That’s why we have re-read all legislative texts that violate media freedom. To strengthen our democracies, no longer any journalist should go to jail for a press offense, and no journalist should see their life threatened in the exercise of their profession.
That is why Burkina Faso, through me, expresses its support for this initiative of the African Editors Forum in collaboration with its partners.”