The African Editors Forum (TAEF) has welcomed the political change in Zimbabwe and has expressed hope that the presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa will usher in a new era for media freedom in Zimbabwe.
The media in Zimbabwe has, for over three decades, published and broadcast under extremely difficult conditions which included the detention and harassment of journalists as well as the attacks on publishers. It is TAEF's hope that the new era for Zimbabweans will lead to one where all laws that are inimical to media freedom will be removed from statutes books by President Mnangagwa's government.
TAEF will be working with the Southern African Editors Forum (SAEF) and editors in Zimbabwea to help achieve an environment where freedom of the media will reign.
TAEF, at its bi-annual general meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 22-23 November 2017, also expressed concern at the discovery of modern slavery in Libya.
However, TAEF recognised that the Libya modern slavery exposé was brought to the world by the media. TAEF deplored the violation of human rights of Africans by fellow Africans, praised the media for the exposé and encouraged more investigative reporting.
African editors also adopted a resolution condemning the 10-year jail sentence imposed on Cameroonian journalist Ahmed Abba by a military court for just doing his job.
TAEF also called for Abba's freedom and the cessation of the trials of other Cameroonian journalist on trial.
TAEF remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating media freedom in Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, Somalia and Ethiopia.
However, editors also recognised and praised several African countries for protecting and promoting media freedom.
In this context, the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Marc Roch Christian Kabore, whose government removed all laws that restrict media freedom, was presented with the "Friends of the African Media Award".
Previous winners of the Award include Nelson Mandela, the late legendary former President of South Africa, his successor Thabo Mbeki, then President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Ghana John Kofour.
The "Friends of the African Media Award to President Kabore" was presented by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
At the BGM, TAEF also elected a new leadership:
- Chairperson: Jovial Rantao, South Africa
- Deputy Chairperson: Zine Cherfaoui, Algeria
- Secretary General: Makan Koné, Mali
- Treasurer: Mahlatse Mahlase, South Africa
- Chair of the Press Freedom Committee: Michael Didama, Chad
- TAEF Project Manager: Willie Mponda, Zimbabwe.
The TAEF BGM also adopted a five year plan to grow, strengthen the organisation and eliminate restrictions to media freedom throughout African continent.
Makan Koné, TAEF Secretary General
Jovial Rantao, TAEF Chairperson