CENOZO stands in solidarity with all journalists in West Africa, who, in their line off work, face threats against their lives, legal action and other violations of their rights.
Today, we remember Ahmed Hussein Suale, of Tiger Eye media of Ghana gunned down by unknown armed men on January 16, 2019. To date culprits of this act are yet to be brought to book. We call on the Government of Ghana to ensure that Suale’s murder does not join the list of journalists killed with impunity in West Africa.
We stand in solidarity with our member Ignace Sassou of Benin who is currently faced with legal hurdles, for a CENOZO published article on May 21 2018.
Today we remember and stand in solidarity with the families of the late Nobert Zongo, Burkina Faso(gunned down in … ) Deyda Hydra, The Gambia gunned down in December 2004, Dele Giwa, Nigeria killed by a parcel bomb in October 1986. Killers of all three journalists are still to face justice.
To commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, the CENOZO leadership is today in the midst of global stakeholders who have converged in in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. And, CENOZO staff in Ouagadougou join our host the CNP NZ and other partners in Burkina Faso to add the voices of its Executive Board and members to the voices advocating for an improved working environment for the media and to openly discuss the state of media laws, developments in Burkina Faso.
CENOZO recognizes slight improvements in the working environment for investigative journalists in some countries the region, West Africa has also witnessed a high rate of growth of a vibrant and dynamic cohort of investigative journalists covering divergent interests and views, as demonstrated by the high level of demand for CENOZO membership and attendance in our training events for Investigative journalists. As such, the CEBOZO board reiterates its commitment to its members to further advocate for an enhanced working environment and safety mechanisms for investigative journalists.
Despite the said improvements and despite the universal recognition of press freedoms, investigative journalists across several West African member states and Mauritania continue to live in fear of reprisals and intimidation. Worse still, they face serious challenges of safety and security; arbitrary arrests and detention; torture; aggression and even death.
As we commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, the CENOZO leadership calls on its members to uphold our principles and values of ethical, responsible journalism. We also encourage members whose rights have been violated to take advantage of the available redress mechanisms in their countries and at the regional level, as we are committed to engaging the necessary legal and financial resources in investigating attacks against journalists and providing the necessary support where such attacks are directed against our members.
Given that the work of CENOZO members contributes to enhance transparency, strengthen good governance and expose human rights violations in ECOWAS member states; given that the work the media does is recognized in the region's human rights instruments, international and national levels,
CENOZO enjoins the ECOWAS Commission to work with the relevant Authorities to urge its members states to:
- Ensure that laws, policies and practices are compatible with the existing international obligations and commitments on the safety of journalists;
- Repeal criminal libel and defamation laws as stipulated in regional, continental and international frameworks.
- Investigate crimes including murder, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other human rights violations against journalists
- Support the proposed resolution on safety of journalists expected to be passed by the UN General Assembly at the end of 2019.
Since 1993, May 3, is commemorated annually to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of global press freedom; stand in solidarity with and defend the media from attacks on its independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.