CPJ, 80 media and rights teams urge African heads of state to launch jailed journalists

To: President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune
President of Benin Patrice Talon
President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza
President of Cameroon Paul Biya
President of Chad Idriss Deby
President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
President of Eritrea Isaias Afwerki
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed Ali
Prime Minister of Morocco Saad-Eddine El Othmani
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame
Despatched by way of e mail
Your Excellencies,
We the 81 undersigned media, press freedom, and human rights organizations are writing to name in your respective governments to launch all jailed journalists amid the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic.

Final week, the Committee to Shield Journalists printed an open letter to world leaders urging the quick launch of all journalists imprisoned for his or her work. Given {that a} staggering variety of these imprisoned journalists are held in jails throughout the African continent, we’re reiterating that decision to your respective international locations at the moment of grave public well being concern.

In line with CPJ’s most up-to-date annual survey performed on December 1, 2019, there have been no less than 73 journalists in prisons in Africa, together with 26 in Egypt , 16 in Eritrea , seven in Cameroon , 4 every in Rwanda , Burundi , and Morocco , three in Algeria , and one every in Benin , Nigeria , Chad , Tanzania , Ethiopia , Somalia , Comoros , Democratic Republic of the Congo , and South Sudan .

As of March 31, no less than 11 of those journalists have been launched from jails in Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, DRC, Algeria, Comoros, South Sudan, and Egypt, based on CPJ analysis. Nevertheless, no less than six extra journalists and media staff have been jailed since December 1, and stay in jail as of March 31, together with 4 in Ethiopia and one every in Cameroon and Algeria .

Article 16 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights states, “Each particular person shall have the suitable to get pleasure from the most effective attainable state of bodily and psychological well being.” These rights have been prolonged to prisoners and detainees when the African Fee adopted the 1995 Decision on Prisons in Africa .

In line with the World Well being Group , “Folks disadvantaged of their liberty, and people residing or working in enclosed environments of their shut proximity, are more likely to be extra susceptible to the COVID-19 illness than the final inhabitants.”

For journalists jailed in international locations affected by the virus, freedom is now a matter of life and loss of life. Imprisoned journalists don’t have any management over their environment, can not select to isolate, and are sometimes denied essential medical care.

Many of those journalists have been held in detention with out trial for prolonged intervals and are affected by in poor health well being exacerbated by underlying well being circumstances and overcrowded prisons, the place they’ve contracted malaria, tuberculosis, and different illnesses.

We urge you to launch each jailed journalist in your respective international locations and to guard the free press and the free circulation of knowledge at this significant time. Journalism should not carry a loss of life sentence.

● AccessNow
● African Centre for Media and Data Literacy (AFRICMIL)

● Africans Rising
● amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
● Article 19
● Affiliation des Journalistes Burundais en Exil (AJBE)

● Affiliation des journalistes du Burkina (AJB)
● Affiliation des journalistes indépendants du Bénin (AJIB)

● Affiliation for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE)
● Bloggers Affiliation of Kenya (BAKE)
● Cameroon Affiliation of English-speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ)

● Cameroon Neighborhood Media Community (CCMN)
● Cellule Norbert Zongo pour le journalisme d’investigation en Afrique de l’Ouest/Norbert Zongo Cell for Investigative Journalism in West Africa (CENOZO)

● Heart for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
● Centre for Human Rights & Democracy in Africa (CHRDA)

● Civil Rights Defenders
● Coalition for Whistleblowers Safety & Press Freedom (CWPPF)

● Committee to Shield Journalists (CPJ)
● Neighborhood Empowerment for Progress Group (CEPO)- South Sudan

● Le Conseil nationwide des patrons de presse du Togo (CONAPP)

● Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organisations (CEHRO)

● EG Justice
● Eswatini Editors’ Discussion board
● Federation of African Journalists (FAJ)
● Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ)
● Free Press Initiative (FPI)
● Gambia Press Union (GPU)
● Groupe d’Motion pour le Progrès et la Paix (GAPP-Afrique) (Canada, Bénin, Mali)

● Guild of Skilled Bloggers of Nigeria
● Human Rights Community for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-U)

● Index on Censorship
● Institute for Media and Society (IMS)
● Worldwide Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)

● Worldwide Press Centre (IPC)
● Worldwide Press Institute (IPI)
● Worldwide Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
● Web Sans Frontieres (ISF)
● Kenya Correspondents Affiliation (KCA)
● Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG)
● Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ)
● La Maison de la presse du Niger
● Legal guidelines and Rights Consciousness Initiative (LRAI)
● Ligue des journalistes Tchadiens
● MARUAH (Singapore)
● Media Council of Tanzania (MCT)
● Media Basis for West Africa (MFWA)
● Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
● Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)
● MENA Rights Group
● Namibia Media Belief (NMT)
● Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)
● Odhikar (Bangladesh)
● Observatoire de la Liberté de la Presse en Afrique (OLPA)

● One Day Seyoum
● Organisation Patronale des Médias du Gabon (OPAM)

● Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
● Patronat de la presse tchadienne
● PEN Eritrea
● PEN Nigeria
● Premium Occasions Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)

● Press Union of Liberia (PUL)
● Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme de l’Afrique Centrale (REDHAC)

● Réseau des Journalistes Burundais pour la CPI (RJB-CPI)

● Réseau des Journalistes pour les Droits de l’Homme en Centrafrique (RJDH-RCA)

● Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF)
● Right2Know (South Africa)
● Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
● Sierra Leone Affiliation of Journalists (SLAJ)
● Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS)
● South African Nationwide Editors’ Discussion board (SANEF)

● Syndicat Nationwide des Journalistes Indépendants du Togo (SYNJIT)

● Syndicat des Professionels de l’Data et de la Communication du Sénégal (SYNPICS)

● Syndicat Nationwide des Professionnels de la Presse de Côte d’Ivoire (SYNAPP-CI)

● Syndicat Nationwide des Journalistes du Cameroun (SNJC)/Cameroon Journalists’ Commerce Union (CJTU)

● The African Editors Discussion board (TAEF)
● Tournons La Web page (TLP)
● Union Burundaise des Journalistes (UBJ)
● Union of Tanzania Press Golf equipment (UTPC)
● Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ)

● Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ)
African Union Chairperson President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa / Le Président de l’Union africain, Président Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa

African Union Fee Chairman Moussa Faki / Le Président de la Fee de l’Union africaine, Moussa Faki

United Nations Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres / Le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies, Antonio Guterres

World Well being Group Director-Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus / Le Directeur général de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

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