In the first campaign of the Press and Democracy network, thirty-five African newspapers are appealing for an end to impunity in the murder of Burkinabe journalist Norbert Zongo, according to Reporters sans frontières (RSF). Press and Democracy, Africa's first electronic network for the defence of press freedom, includes newspapers and organisations from nineteen francophone African countries. Its initial campaign involves the simultaneous publication of a full-page insert about the trial of Zongo's assassins. Participating newspapers include "Le Jour" in Côte d'Ivoire, "Les Echos du Jour" in Benin, "Le Pays" in Burkina Faso, "Le Messager" in Cameroon, "L'Observateur" in Mali, "Alternative" in Niger, "Le Populaire" in Senegal, "La Référence Plus" in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and "Crocodile" in Togo. The insert was also published in the 25-26 February issue of the French daily "Le Monde". The Press and Democracy network was launched with support from RSF and the Francophonie's Intergovernmental Agency.
Zongo was found dead on 13 December 1998, notes RSF. The director of the weekly "L'Indépendant" had been investigating the murder of the president's brother's chauffeur, who was tortured to death by members of the presidential guard in December 1997. On 2 February 2001, a soldier was charged with murder and arson in Zongo's death, reports RSF, but so far François Compaoré, the head of state's brother who is believed to be behind the killing, has escaped prosecution. [See IFEX "Communiques" #9-49
.] For more information, visit http://www.rsf.fr
. The Press and Democracy network can be contacted at: Tel: +33 1 44 83 84 46, Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51; E-mail: [email protected]