West African governments urged to prioritise safety of journalists

JournalistsLeading media development and free expression organisations in West Africa have called on governments in the region to prioritise safety of journalists and access to information.

“We call on all governments in West Africa to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment for journalists, media professionals and associated personnel to perform their work professionally without attacks and undue interference”.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the Conference which was organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), in March this year.

At the just ended West Africa Conference on Media and Participatory Governance, held in Accra, participants deplored the continuous attacks on journalists within the region and the impunity for which such crimes were committed.

Participants also noted with concern that many more countries in the region were yet to pass the Right to Information laws to guarantee access to information for citizens.

Governments that were yet to adopt Right to Information (RTI) Law, were also urged, to prioritise processes for the passage of such laws to guarantee access to information for all citizens.

It called on journalists unions, all media owners, managers, editors, journalists and media development organisations in the region to take steps to improve professional standards among the media.

The Conference brought together representatives from freedom of expression and media development organisations from 15 West Africa States, ECOWAS, UN agencies, diplomats and other civil society stakeholders with the aim of identifying key challenges in the areas of freedom of expression and the role of the media to promote good governance, regional integration and peace in West Africa.

The Conference was carried out with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), fesmedia Africa, the Embassy of the United States of America and Global Partners Digital.

Source: GNA

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