Breaking News:Jammeh’s Gov’t Fails Press Freedom Test! Gambia Emerges Second on the list…
The Gambian Government has once again been branded as an enemy of the private media with its unfinished attack on local journalists. The Ghana based Media Foundation for West Africa has issued its annual media report in which it listed the Gambia as one of the dangerous areas for journalists. The Gambia and Nigeria topped the list of countries unfriendly with the media.” In 2006 alone, the MFWA recorded 168 cases of violations in fifteen of the sixteen countries in the region as compared to 148 of attacks registered in 2005.Nigeria tops the list with 32 cases of abuses of press freedom rights, representing 19 %. Gambia, the country with the smallest population and land size, follows with twenty-seven (27) cases of abuses (16 %). Of the remaining 67 %, Liberia had 20, representing 12%. Ghana is fourth on the list with 18 cases (11 %).”said the statement. Please read on…

Press Statement

Press freedom violations increased in 2006

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is alarmed by the
increasing violations of journalists and media rights in West Africa.

In 2006 alone, the MFWA recorded 168 cases of violations in fifteen of
the sixteen countries in the region as compared to 148 of attacks
registered in 2005.

Nigeria tops the list with 32 cases of abuses of press freedom rights,
representing 19 %. Gambia, the country with the smallest population
and land size, follows with twenty-seven (27) cases of abuses (16 %).
Of the remaining 67 %, Liberia had 20, representing 12%. Ghana is
fourth on the list with 18 cases (11 %).

Cote d’Ivoire and Niger recorded 15 cases each representing 8%. Guinea-
Conakry followed with 11 cases, making 7 %. Sierra Leone, Senegal and
Benin followed with 8(5%), 7(4%) and 6(3%) respectively.

The last set of countries, ranging from 2-0.5 % were Togo, 3 (2%),
Mali 2(1%), Guinea Bissau 2(1%), Burkina Faso 1(0.5%) and Mauritania 1
(0.5%).

In Nigeria, at the end of the year an editor was murdered.

Cape Verde is the only country that registered no case.

The MFWA notes that, this compilation may not include several possible
other acts of violation that may not have been noticed, observed or
reported. It is likely that some of the areas with low cases may have
been poorly monitored. Even for those where there appears to be more
cases reported, not all cases may have been captured, especially if
they occurred outside the capitals and cities.

Moreover, we observe that low cases do not necessarily mean less
harmful violations.

More cases do not necessarily represent the cruelest violations
either, except for, say, the Gambia in this instance which exhibited
the worst and generally more violent repression.

Liberia’s seeming many cases is not an indication necessarily of an
abhorrent situation. They do not represent state policy or
endorsement. They are mostly acts by errant security personnel.

Also in some countries, violations are perpetrated by state actors and
result from generalized or specific government policy of repression
such as Gambia. In some such as Ghana, violations are perpetrated by
individual members of security (police) and/or non-state actors, in
violation of the legal and constitutional order. In yet others
violations are sanctioned by laws that violate the internationally
accepted norms of press freedom and freedom of expression.

The report only records violations against press freedom, and does not
represent numerous other acts of attacks on free speech, or violations
of other realms of freedom of expression in the region such as
academic freedom, etc.

The MFWA regrets the worsening media freedom, even though the
constitution of every country professes to protect press freedom.

The MFWA calls on human rights organizations, political parties,
political leaders and civil society organizations who cherish
democracy to join the MFWA and free expression advocacy organizations
to intensify activities to protest against such violations.

Issued by the MFWA, Accra on January 17, 2006.

The MFWA is a regional independent, non-profit, non-governmental
organization based in Accra. It was founded in 1997 to defend and
promote the rights and freedom of the media and all forms of
expression.

For further information: Please Contact:
MFWA
P.O. Box LG 730, Legon
Accra, Ghana
Tel 233-21 242470
Fax 233 -21 221084
Email: mfwa@africaonline.com.gh
Website: http://www.mfwaonline.org
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Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, January 30, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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