Gambia: MFWA says free expression violations down in West Africa

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The sub-regional rights body, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), on Friday said the freedom of expression violations had gone down in the sub-region during the second quarter of the year.

In its latest West Africa Freedom of Expression Monitor, MFWA revealed that, for the second quarter of 2017 (April-June), it registered 33 violations, down from the 47 recorded during the first quarter (January-March).

"However, the freedom of environment landscape in the sub-region still faces formidable challenges with perpetraors of violations enjoying absolute impunity," it said.

According to the press freedom watchdog, the violations were recorded in nine countries with Nigeria recording 9 (down from 16 during the first qurter), followed by Togo with five.

Mali and Mauritania followed with four violations each, with Ghana and Guinea recording three each and Burkina Faso recorded two, same as Niger, while Senegal witnessed a single violation.

It further highlighted that security agents (14) and state officials (8) were the leading perpetrators, accounting for 66 percent of the violations in the quarter under review.

There were two killings; one of a journalist in Nigeria and the other a student demonstrator in Niger.

MFWA also indicated that in Mali, social media was disrupted for three days, ahead of a big opposition demonstration.

"Despite the decline in the number of violations, it is obvious that some key actors are still resisting change. Security agents continue to have a field day with peaceful demonstrators, and individuals continue to target critical journalists for assassination, the unaccounted killings in Niger and Nigeria being classic cases which have the potential to induce self-
censorship and encourage impunity," the rights body said.

"Senegal’s adoption of a repressive media law and a similar attempt in Cote d’Ivoire constitute a serious setback for freedom of expression. The report therefore calls for urgent action to protect recent gains from being eroded."
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 8Sept2017

08 september 2017 13:13:32

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