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Launch of the African Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists

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The South African National Editors Forum *SANEF) participated last Friday 29th January 2021, in the UNESCO event where it launched the Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa. This platform will perform real-time monitoring, reporting and follow-up actions by both the duty and right bearers, in order to hold the perpetrators of violence against journalists and media outlets accountable for such violations.

The aim of this platform is to contribute to the achievement of the expected results in the amended Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (2019) and the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the virtual launch in his capacity as president of the African Union. His speech is here:

President Ramaphosa said in part: “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.” 

You can also listen to Audrey Azoulay- Director-General of the UNESCO’s remarks on the launch of this Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa on 29 January 2021 here: UNESCO DG- Audrey Azoulay- on platform launch – DG Plateforme sécurité journalisme Afrique – – YouTube

The platform shall promote Partnerships, Prevention, Protection and Prosecution of perpetrators of crimes against journalists (4Ps) in Africa, by promoting the principles, national and regional coordination mechanisms which enhance the safety of journalists and combating impunity in crimes against them in Africa.

The establishment of this Platform is by African Media stakeholders through a steering committee chaired by the African Editors Forum (TAEF) and comprised of The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), The Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office to the AU and UNECA, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and with technical guidance from the Council of Europe (CoE) Platform on Promotion and the Protection of the Safety of Journalists. The technical set up is with the financial support from UNESCO Multidonor Programme for the Freedom of Expression and the Safety of Journalists.

This Platform belongs to all the media partners in Africa, bringing together both the right and duty bearers, with equal stakes and rights. It seeks to leverage on the mandate African Union Organs and organs in enhancing the promotion of journalism profession and protection of the journalists on the African continent, as important pillars for the achievement of Agenda 2063 in AU Member States.

The platform has been established in consultation and support of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, at the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights (ACPHR) whose mandate is fully aligned to its objectives.

More on the launching of the platform is here: Launch of the African Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists (unesco.org)

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