PARIS, Sept 5 (KUNA) -- The rate of impunity for crimes against journalists remains extremely high worldwide, according to UNESCO figures, calling on governments to strengthen the protection of journalists to avoid targeting them by terrorist groups.
In a statement, UNESCO said that in Africa, only five of the 131 murders of journalists committed between 2006 and 2015 have been brought to court.
Meanwhile, Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information said "legal protection for journalists in the exercise of their profession is an important prerequisite for freedom of expression, because as long as journalists are at risk of being threatened, arbitrarily detained or killed for informing the public, freedom of expression will be curtailed and society's ability to make informed choices limited." For her part, Faith Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa said that "Judicial and quasi-judicial human rights mechanisms in Africa, such as the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, play an essential role to foster the rule of law in Africa, and notably for the respect of freedom of expression, safety of journalists and the end of impunity." Today, only 30 of Africa's 54 States are part of the Court and only seven countries allow their citizens to bring cases directly to it, the statement noted.
Tomorrow UNESCO and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights will host an inter-regional dialogue in Arusha, Tanzania, to raise awareness and help reinforce capacity building of law professionals in Africa regarding freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, ways to ending impunity and the need to decriminalize defamation.
The event in Arusha also aims to encourage more African countries to ratify the Court's Protocol so as to become part of the regional judicial body. (end) mmb.mb