The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, ACHPR has called on States Parties to take necessary measures to uphold citizens’ right to freedom of expression and access to information.
The commission made the call in its resolution at the end of the 67th Ordinary Session.
The commission noted that all stare parties must “take all necessary measures to uphold their obligations under the African Charter and other international and regional instruments providing for the right to freedom of expression and access to information, and implement the principles in the Declaration.
“Ensure the safety of journalists and other media professionals, and create a conducive environment for them to practice their profession.
“Ensure that journalists and other media professionals are protected when covering demonstrations and mass rallies and ensure that security officials are trained on this.”
The commission also noted that state parties must “repeal criminal defamation laws or insult laws which impede freedom of expression;
“Review laws related to the guarantee of freedom of expression to ensure that they comply with regional and international standards on freedom of expression;
“Ensure that the right to express oneself through the media shall not be subject to undue legal restrictions;
“Refrain from closing down media houses, in accordance with Principle 9 of the Declaration on justifiable limitations to freedom of expression.”
Towards ensuring unhindered access to state information, the ACHPR urged state parties to “ensure that journalists are allowed to access information and report freely and accurately on the Government’s actions to counter the effects and the spread of the coronavirus.
“Investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of attacks against journalists and other media practitioners, ensure that victims have access to effective remedies and take specific measures to ensure the safety of female journalists and media practitioners by addressing gender-specific safety concerns.”