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On the eve of this year's African Union summit, IFEX members and other media organisations are calling on Africa's leaders to release all journalists in jail.

"It's time for urgent action, not more empty promises," says Gabriel Baglo, director of the Africa office of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). "We call on the heads of state of Africa to free all the journalists imprisoned without delay."

According to IFJ, 13 journalists are imprisoned in Ethiopia's Kality jail in Addis Ababa alone. At least another 15 journalists are being held incommunicado in Eritrea, IFJ says, and the whereabouts of Gambian journalist "Chief" Ebrima Manneh, who was arrested last July, are still unknown.

IFJ held a press conference in Ghana with fellow IFEX member Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and other African media organizations, including the Network of African Freedom of Expression Organisations (NAFEO), West African Journalists Association, Ghana Journalists Association, Centre for Research Education and Development of Rights in Africa and All Africa Editors Forum to call for the release of their jailed colleagues.

The media organisations are also calling on the summit leaders, meeting in Ghana from 1 to 3 July, to institute measures to end impunity for those who attack journalists, to reopen all media outlets closed down by governments, and to create conditions for the return of exiled journalists to their home countries. A recent survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found that more than 60 percent of journalists in exile come from Africa. IFJ reports that Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, DR Congo, Swaziland and Somalia each have more than 100 of their journalists in exile.

Visit these links:
- IFJ:
- CPJ, "Journalists in Exile":
(3 July 2007)

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