Kampala March 12, 2017
Under the auspices of the African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Partnership, Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) will host a major Pan-African Conference on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
The conference will be held from March 25-26, 2017 at the Commonwealth Speke Resort, Munyonyo and will be attended by over 50 experts and advocates of freedom of expression from across African continent. The conference will be opened by senior officials from the African Union Commission, European Union, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Government of Uganda.
Commenting on the event, Gilbert Sendugwa, AFIC’s Executive Director and member of the Joint AU-EU CSO Steering Committee on the partnership on human rights and democratic governance noted,
“this conference represents one of the key actions to implement the AU-EU Roadmap approved by the Heads of State Summit in April 2014”.
He added that where there has been notable progress, in many African countries the situation of freedom of expression has taken a deep regress. Arrest and intimidation of journalists, closure of media houses, and internet shutdowns among other violations have been common.
During the 12th Human Rights Dialogue of the African Union and European Union held on November 24, 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda both parties endorsed civil society recommendation to hold a Pan African Conference at which the situation of freedom of expression would be discussed.
In a statement in Mogadishu, Mr. Omar Faruk Osman chairperson of the CSO Steering Committee observed that unlike other professions, journalists are killed for doing their work. Journalists need a safe environment in which they can hold power to account without retribution. This cannot be achieved without addressing impunity of crimes against journalists. He added.
Over the past few years, the African Union and the global community at large have prioritized and adopted measures to ensure a protective environment for freedom of expression practitioners. This conference will discuss ways to bridge the gap between freedom of expression policy and practice in Africa.