The rate of impunity for crimes against journalists remains extremely high worldwide, according to UNESCO figures, which show that since 2006, fewer than 7 percent of these crimes have been brought to justice. In Africa, only five of the 131 murders of journalists committed between 2006 and 2015 have been brought to court.
Legal protection for journalists in the exercise of their profession is an important prerequisite for freedom of expression, explains Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, 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.”
“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”, said Faith Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, who will speak at the Seminar.
But 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.