ARTICLE 19 sees new chapter for African Broadcasting

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The London-based press freedom watch dog, ARTICLE 19, has hailed this Year's World Press Freedom Day (3 May) as a unique celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on media freedom in Africa.
UNESCO sponsored a conference in the Namibian capital on the occasion to review the original Declaration, and participants took the opportunity to issue a new document: "The Windhoek Charter on Broadcasting in Africa.
The Charter recognises the unique challenges faced in the development of a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting environment on the African continent.
It calls for concrete measures to be taken by African States, while State and government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into public service broadcasters and the introduction of independent regulators.
Also addressed is the need to strengthen the independent production sector and introduce local content through minimum quotas.
John Barker, Head of ARTICLE 19's Africa Programme said: "Broadcasting is intrinsic to the development of democracy in Africa.
This Charter is unique in that it appreciates not only the need for the development and protection of African cultural content, but the importance of developing democratic and localised broadcasting environments.
He said the document "gives us a solid basis for our work on broadcasting in the region, and we look forward to continuing the awareness-raising begun this year in Windhoek, lobbying with our colleagues to have the Charter adopted and implemented by African governments.
" The conference participants called on UNESCO to distribute the Charter and for all African media organisations to use it as their starting point in advocacy for the development of national and regional broadcasting policies.
ARTICLE 19 said in a statement that additional "outcomes from the conference included a resolution supporting moves to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression within the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights.
" There were also calls for the amendment or repeal of all laws inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression, with particular emphasis on the need to repeal criminal laws protecting reputation and, where necessary, to replace them with civil laws.

09 may 2001 14:21:00

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