World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Darmstadt)

19 December 2012

Africa: Pan-African Parliament Resolution to Protect Media Freedoms

document

Midrand — The full text of the Pan-African Parliament resolution, entitled 'Press Freedom for Development and Governance: Need for Reform', encouraging African Union heads of state to sign the Declaration of Table Mountain, passed 18 October 2012.

Resolution on the campaign on “Press Freedom for Development and Governance: Need for Reform”.

Considering the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), it is stated in the objectives of the Parliament that it shall, among other things:

“Promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa.

“Encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in Member States”.

Considering Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states that “every individual shall have the right to receive information”; and that “every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his opinions within the law”.

Noting the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa 2002, the Declaration of Table Mountain 2007; and

Acknowledging the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic Africa Press 1991 which has stated explicitly the right of freedom of expression and information for every individual.

The Pan African Parliament resolves to:

(i) Lead a campaign on “Press Freedom for Development And Governance: Need for Reform”. in all five Regions of Africa;

(ii) Hold during its Second Ordinary Session of the Third Parliament in May 2013 a dialogue on the issue of Press Freedom in Africa. The campaign should be launched during that dialogue in Midrand;

(iii) Establish a “PAP Index on Media Freedom in Africa”, in order to monitor the state of media freedom on the continent. Organizations such as UNESCO, MISA, UNDP and others could help the PAP in strengthening its research capacity in order to sustain this index.

(iv) Establish a “PAP Award on Media Freedom in Africa”. This could be an Award with that covers various categories: e.g. individuals, organizations and Member States.

(v) Lobby for the amendment of laws that restrict media freedom in many African countries.

(vi) Request its members to contribute positively in reform efforts that relate to media freedom in their respective countries.

(vii) Issue statements to condemn violations of media freedom in AU Member States. Such a step by the PAP would have a significant impact on the promotion of media freedom in Africa.

(viii) Urge AU Member States to repeal laws that opress journalists.

(ix) Encourage AU Member States to adopt the Model Law on Access to Information drafted by the ACHPR.

(x) Contribute to the efforts to modernize laws still in place and consequently hinder media freedom in many AU Member States.

(xi) Urge AU Member States to improve working conditions for journalists and for creating a conducive environment for the media.

(xii) Join efforts and endeavours for the protection of journalists in AU Member States, particularly during the period of pre and post-elections. This would allow the PAP to contribute in achieving a free and fair election and ultimately to the promotion of democracy in the continent.

(xiii)Contribute to the process of drafting clear policies for insuring the privacy and security aspects that are related to media.

(xiv) Encourage the formation of strong and independent professional media associations in AU Member States.

(xv) Undertake a joint mission with the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights to facilitate reform efforts that relate to media freedom in AU Member States.

(xvi) Engage in a constructive dialogue with various stakeholders in order to promote media freedom in AU Member States.

(xvii) Encourage media institutions in AU Member States to develop self-regulating policies that can assist journalists to carry their duties in a professional manner.

(xviii) Contribute and lobby for the ratification of the Protocol of the African Court.

(xix) Enhance cooperation between the PAP’s Committee on Justice and Human Right and the ACHPR in order to integrate their efforts to promote media freedom in Africa.

(xx) Promote media freedom in Africa not be limited only to the rights of journalists but also to balance between the rights and duties of journalists.

(xxi) Encourage AU Member States to sign the Declaration of Table Mountain. Only 2 African countries have signed this Declaration.

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