By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) on Tuesday launched its “Africa Press Freedom Tracker” via Zoom virtual meeting, with a call on African leaders and law enforcement agents to respect the rights of journalists who are legitimately carrying out their duties.
The organisation condemned in strong terms deliberate attempts by certain individuals in some African countries to violate the rights of journalists with impunity.
The virtual meeting attracted participants from within and outside Nigeria including development communication experts, press freedom activists and journalists who have fallen victim of media violations.
The press freedom tracker was the outcome of a research undertaken by the organization to monitor and keep track of incidences of press freedom violations in Africa.
Addressing the meeting, AMDF Executive Director, Iliya Kure said the Initiative is meant to serve as source of useful information to press freedom advocates and researchers among other users.
The Tracker, he emphasised, is specific on names of affected journalists, nature of incidences, dates of incidence and culprits of such acts.
Responding to a question on the safety of journalists dying in detention, the Executive Director who highlighted problem of funding, said the AMDF relies heavily on volunteers in most of its activities. However, he explained, the Organization is working with some pro bono lawyers who offer services to assist victims.
Earlier in her opening remark, the Deputy Executive Director AMDF, Sekyen Dadik had enjoined the participants, including journalists, press freedom, human rights activists to support the AMDF team by sharing information on violations in their respective regions.
She reiterated the commitment of the AMDF to providing professional support to media to among others, strengthening democracy and attainment of sustainable development, media research and documentation as well as media monitoring and sharing, capacity development of journalists and other media workers.
The Organization, she reemphasised, envisions a just and informed society ushered in by free media, communication and knowledge; hence the need for a press freedom tracker dedicated to monitoring activities around media freedom in Africa.
The Africa Press Freedom Tracker is found at www.pressfreedommonitor.africa