President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Ramaphosa to endorse digital platform for safety of journalists

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Jan 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa was due on Friday to endorse the launch of a digital platform for the safety of journalists on the continent, his office said.

The platform, whose launch will be virtually hosted by the African Editors Forum and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, will perform real-time monitoring, reporting and follow-ups to secure the safety of journalists, the Presidency said in a statement.

“Alerts on the harassment, detention and murder of journalists will be published on the platform in order to hold the perpetrators of violence against journalists and media outlets accountable for such violations,” it added.

Other partners in the initiative are the African Union’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, the African Peer Review Mechanism and the African Governance Architecture.

The Presidency said the platform was a contribution towards realising the 2019 amended declaration of principles on freedom of expression and access to information in Africa and the United Nations plan of action on the safety of reporters.

Organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have chronicled numerous instances of attacks on media freedom - including the killing of reporters - not just in Africa but elsewhere across the world, with governments often implicated.

In a statement late on Thursday, CPJ urged Ethiopian authorities to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the killing of journalist Dawit Kebede Araya, determine if it was motivated by his work, and hold those responsible to account.

Unidentified attackers shot and killed Dawit, a reporter with the state-owned broadcaster Tigray TV, and his friend while they were driving in Mekelle, the capital of the northern state of Tigray where conflict broke out in late 2020, CPJ said, citing news reports and four people that it directly spoke to.

The media freedom watchdog also called on Malawi’s government to probe an attack by police on journalist Henry Kijimwana Mhango.

Citing news website Malawi Voice and Mhango himself, CPJ said at least seven police officers attacked the reporter with pipes and sticks in the capital Lilongwe on January 22 after he asked for permission to photograph them enforcing Covid-19 regulations.

“Journalists are far too often attacked for reporting on the enforcement of Covid-19-related restrictions,” CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo said from the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“The pandemic is difficult enough for journalists without having to worry that they will be assaulted while on the job.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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