(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 23 October 2009 - On the occasion of the European Development Days, ARTICLE 19 joins with the Africa Forum for Media Development, the African Media Initiative, the Global Forum for Media Development, the International Federation of Journalists and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers in calling for stronger dedicated European Union support to media freedom in Africa.
"Everyone agrees that media freedom and development are central to democracy and sustainable development," says Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. "The EU needs to do more to support this central pillar of human progress."
In their Statement to European Development Days, Stockholm, October 22-24, 2009, the organisations welcome the priority that the European Union (EU) and African Union have agreed to give to the issue of media development. However, the organisations called for a meeting to be held with key stakeholders to focus on the way forward and to consider the practical proposals that have been made, and in particular the proposal to institute an African Peer Review Mechanism for Media Freedom and Access to Information.
The six organisations also outlined ten points to promote media freedom and development in Africa, including the following:
- A clear political commitment should be made to implement the principles of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press and the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa.
- Dedicated funds should be allocated to media development, which should not be channelled through government.
- Support should be provided to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information
- An African Peer Review Mechanism for Media Freedom and Access to Information should be created as a matter of priority.
ARTICLE 19 urges the EU to provide more support for media freedom and development initiatives in Africa and urges African governments to do more to respect media freedom.
International Federation of Journalists
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers