Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) on Friday declared that African governments have the duty to guarantee the safety of journalists, the federation said in a statement received here by PANA.
The declaration was made as FAJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) intensified their ongoing campaign for the ''adoption of a binding resolution on the safety and protection of journalists in Africa'' at the 19th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The three-member delegation from FAJ consists of its President, Omar Faruk Osman, the Vice President Foster Dongozi, and the Africa Director for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Gabriel Baglo.
They represent journalists’ unions and associations on the continent with a view towards engaging Heads of State and Governments.
“We have been actively lobbying African Union member states, the African Union Commission and other strategic partners for the adoption of a resolution on the safety and protection of African journalists at the ongoing 19th African Union Summit,” Omar Faruk said.
“The safety of journalists is a more pertinent subject today than ever before; the number of journalists killed, assaulted and intimidated has been increasing year after year on the continent.”
According to Faruk, the objective of their participation in the AU summit is also to work with the member states, AU Commission, Peace and Security Council and Permanent Representatives on the issue of safety and security of African journalists, ''particularly the adoption of a legally binding resolution on the need to protect African journalists when conducting their work.''
Also speaking, Gabriel Gbaglo, the IFJ Africa Director, also said: “Many African journalists are assaulted or killed in the course of their work. African leaders must adopt binding resolution on the safety and protection of African journalists.”
In September 2010, FAJ launched, in collaboration with the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, a campaign for African leaders to lend their support to the campaign on the safety and protection of African journalists.
The lobbying and advocacy work is being done ahead of a planned Pan-African Conference on the safety of journalists and the campaign against impunity to be held in September 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The statement further pointed out that over the last three years, Somalia has been the deadliest country for media workers with 34 journalists assassinated.
It said since the beginning of this year, six Somali journalists have already been killed while one journalist was killed in Nigeria.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 13July2012