WAMELA PRESS STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END IMPUNITY FOR CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALIST

2ND NOVEMBER 2020

The West Africa Media Lawyers Association, (WAMELA) joins the international community to call for an end to all forms of impunity against journalists.

According to reports, in the past fourteen years (2006-2019), close to 1,200 journalists have been killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public. On the average, this constitutes one death every four days. In nine out of ten cases the killers go unpunished. Impunity leads to more killings and is often a symptom of worsening conflict and the breakdown of law and judicial systems. WAMELA is concerned that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime. Governments, the Bar, civil society, the media, and everyone concerned with upholding the rule of law are being asked to join in the global efforts to end impunity.

It is in recognition of the far-reaching consequences of impunity, especially of crimes against journalists, that the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 (link is external)at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2nd November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI). The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2nd November 2013.

As the World Marks the International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalist, The West Africa Media Lawyers Association (“WAMELA”) has challenged African Leaders to preserve the democratic rights of citizens by enacting laws and promoting policies that guarantee unfettered access to information about Governments’ businesses.

WAMELA emphasizes that African Governments must ensure that they put an end to impunity for crimes perpetrated against journalists in the course of their work. The recent attack on media houses in Nigeria, state sponsored attacks on media across the continent is strongly condemned.

President of WAMELA, Noah Ajare Esq. gave this charge on the occasion of the International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalist which is celebrated annually on November 2nd. The WAMELA President lamented that the Situation of journalists in Africa has worsened with Covid-19 restrictions, coupled with increase in targeted attacks and gender based crimes against female journalist. He called on Governments and the Judiciaries to investigate all attacks and crimes against journalists and the media, and to bring the culprits to book without further delay.

Philemon Acuma Esq.

Head Media WAMELA

2nd November 2020

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