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» 09.02.2011 - African dreams of Egypt-like revolt
» 04.03.2010 - Africa media development projects awarded funding
» 03.11.2009 - "Strip Gambia off AU human rights body"
» 21.10.2009 - Eritrea is the bottom last in Press Freedom Index 2009
» 23.03.2009 - Two African states among the highest with impunity
» 14.01.2009 - AI blames prolonged Zim crisis on AU
» 02.05.2008 - Equatorial Guinean leader tops Africa's media predators
» 20.02.2008 - Africa needs value-based journalism

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Human rights | Media

AU chief supports press freedom

afrol News, 28 February - A delegation of concerned press freedom fighters flew to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet the continental body's Chairperson, Alpha Oumar Konaré. Mr Konaré assured the delegation of his office's support for press freedom in the continent.

The trip was part of mechanisms being undertaken by freedom of expression organisations in Africa to correct repressions on journalists in most African countries, particularly in Eritrea, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia.

The delegation comprised of officials of The African Editors' Forum (TAEF) and the Network of African Freedom of Expression (NAFEO). It was led by the TAEF President, Mathatha Tsedu of South Africa. Other members include Macharia Gaitho, Emrakeb Assefa and Saidou Arji of Kenya, from Ethiopia and Ghana, respectively.

TAEF leader and editor Tsedu was on his first official mission for the pan-African press organisation after his family tragically had fallen victim to the wave of violent crime in South Africa. And his mission to Addis Ababa was successful.

According to a statement, TAEF's proposal to celebrate the "Year of Freedom of Media and Free Expression" in Africa and the "Day of African Media" was accepted by the AU leaders.

Mr Konaré, who said he regarded press freedom as an "essential pillar of democracy," agreed that media freedom has been dwindling in the continent. Despite the fact that most African countries hold regular elections, democracy is still being undermined by repression of the media, the former Malian President concurred.

While assuring the media delegation of the AU's commitment to media freedom and close collaboration with TAEF for the common good, Mr Konaré endorsed the editor forum's idea to hold parallel event under the African freedom of expression theme during the Accra AU summit in July, contrasting last year's AU event.

In July last year, the government of The Gambia demonstrated its true media hatred and refused a forum on press freedom and expression to take place side by side with the AU Summit organised in its capital, Banjul. Instead, the forum was shifted to the neighbouring Senegal.

The AU boss urged African editors to take advantage of the upcoming Accra summit to "push for greater freedom of the media and expression."

Mr Konaré was earlier briefed on the appalling state of media in Africa and how the AU could use its influence to press governments to show commitments to the many protocols they have signed on respect for freedom of expression.

TAEF used the meeting to share its programme of action, designed to enhance media coverage of the continent.

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