ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) --
The United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Saturday called upon
African judiciary to continue promoting the safety of
journalists and ending impunity in the continent.
Head of UNESCO Dar es Salaam Office, Representative to Tanzania
made the call in the country’s safari capital of Arusha when
speaking at one-day seminar on “Strengthening Judiciary Systems
and African Courts to Protect the Safety of Journalists and End
the need for deliberate steps towards ending impunity with a
shared vision to support the expedition of commitments made to
ensure the effective domestication and implementation of the
agreed legal and policy measures.
“This includes the
establishment of protection mechanisms with early warning and
rapid response systems for journalists and media workers,”
The seminar, which
involved legal practitioners and journalists from across Africa,
was meant to raise awareness and help reinforce capacity
building of law professionals in Africa regarding freedom of
expression, the safety of journalists, ways to ending impunity
and the need to decriminalize defamation.
UNESCO urges African judiciary
to protect journalists’ safety, end impunity
ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) --
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with the African
Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights have embarked in new drive to
fight impunity for crimes against journalists.
Frank La Rue, UNESCO
Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information,
said on Friday here that the UN and African Union (AU) bodies
have organized an inter-regional dialogue to raise awareness and
help reinforce capacity building of law professionals in Africa
regarding freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, and
the need to decriminalize defamation.
for journalists in the exercise of their profession is an
important prerequisite for freedom of expression,” he explained.
“As long as
journalists are at risk of being threatened, arbitrarily
detained or killed for informing the public, freedom of
expression will be curtailed and society’s ability to make
informed choices limited.”
The rate of impunity
for crimes against journalists remains extremely high worldwide,
according to UNESCO figures, which show that since 2006, fewer
than 7 percent of these crimes have been brought to justice.
In Africa, only five
of the 131 murders of journalists committed between 2006 and
2015 has been brought to court.
quasi-judicial human rights mechanisms in Africa, such as the
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, play an essential role
to foster the rule of law in Africa, and notably for the respect
of freedom of expression, safety of journalists and the end of
impunity,” said Faith Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson and Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in
But today, only 30
of Africa’s 54 states are part of the Court, and only seven
countries allow their citizens to bring cases directly to it,
according to Tlakula.
Sukhdev Chhatbar, an
official from the African Court said a seminar in Arusha
Saturday aims to encourage more African countries to ratify the
Court’s Protocol so as to become part of the regional judicial
The seminar is held
in preparation for this year’s International Day to End Impunity
for Crimes against Journalists, which will be observed on Nov.