- African journalists had the opportunity to mingle with trade unionists and press freedom activists in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou to brainstorm new ways of combating violations of freedom, particularly those dealing with press in the continent.
A four-day second international festival of freedom of expression and press, organised by a range of human rights and press freedom watchdogs in Burkina Faso, accorded this opportunity. It was first held in 1999, a year after the brutal assassination of a Burkinabe investigative reporter and editor of the weekly L’Independent, Norbert Zongo. Justice is yet to prevail in Zongo’s killing.
The objective of the festival is to equip the press to arm itself with tools to bolster democracy, reinforce freedom and justice in the black continent in general.
After so many presentations and speeches on the deteriorating state of freedom in the continent, delegates, who expressed disgust with the high spate of violations, nailed their sessions with calls for improvement of the situation.
They thought it necessary to go beyond the mere issuance of alerts. Among the possible measures should include making good use of the legal instruments as means of seeking redress any time abuses of freedom is violated.
Delegates also said there is the need to launch serious and syndicated regional and international campaigns against countries or officials who prove to be predators of freedom. There was also a call for the press to collaborate with human rights defenders, civil society or unionists to push the freedom agenda so as to defend the rights of all Africans.
The Burkina Faso conference asked for the installation of all means capable of countering violations of freedoms, advocate for reforms on independent justice as well as denounce impunity or all forms of attacks on the press.
Delegates have also been asked to push the agenda for self-regulation, implementation of obstacles to access to official information, continuously follow up cases of violations of freedom.
There was a call for joint collaboration involving the media, unionists and right defenders to monitor and follow up developments in Guinea at least once every 15 days.
Delegates believed this would ensure that the country does not go back to another fatal country-wide strike. The body’s task has to do with ensuring that there is good system of governance in the interest of a people that have been denied freedom for several decades.
Approximately, over 200 journalists have been assassinated since 1990 and yet the trend persists, which worries delegates. Besides, journalists continue to remain victims of imprisonment while their media institutions are closed down by security forces.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.