Saturday, 30 January 2021 10:18

Staff Reporter.

African Union (AU) chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has endorsed the Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa.

"We support and endorse this initiative to give practical support to the right of all Africans to freely receive information, and to express and disseminate their views," the President said.

Addressing the virtual launch of the Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa on Friday, the President urged all Africans, all institutions, and all heads of State and leaders of government to support this historic project.

The Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa will perform real-time monitoring, reporting and follow-up actions to secure the safety of journalists across the continent.

Alerts on the harassment, detention and murder of journalists will be published on the platform in order to hold the perpetrators of violence against journalists and media outlets accountable for such violations.

"The media has a crucial role to play in the historic and continent-wide movement by Africans to build a continent of their dreams.

"Our march towards the achievement of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 – of the Africa we want – requires that we nurture and protect a free and independent media.

"It requires that we vigorously defend the right of journalists to do their work - to write, publish and broadcast what they like, even if we disagree with some or all of it," Ramaphosa said.

He said the Digital Platform for the Safety of Journalists in Africa is an important tool in promoting the safety of journalists and other media workers across Africa.

Africa is on the march to entrench a culture of human rights, democracy, gender equality, inclusion, peace, prosperity, security for all citizens and unfettered media freedom and independence.

"We look to this digital platform to contribute to an enabling environment for the media to operate in AU member states through respect for the rights of journalists and media workers and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists, "Ramaphosa said.

The Digital Platform is expected to help improve awareness on the importance of media freedom and the safety of journalists in the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 aspirations.

"We congratulate the African Editors Forum, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), the International Federation of Journalists, the African Federation of Journalists, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Peer Review Mechanism and other AU partners on the launch of this worthy project.

"We pledge to provide support to the digital platform through the relevant structures and institutions of the African Union, "Ramaphosa said