Impunity for crimes against journalists, media professionals, activists and citizens remains a worrying trend in Africa. According to the second edition of the Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa Report produced by the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) which cited a total of 113 violations recorded, only ten of these violations received some form of redress.
The AFEX Freedom of Expression (FOE) Situation report which covered January – June 2017 highlighted 12 categories of violations. Physical attacks and arrests and detentions were the major types of violations with 32 incidents each. Other violations included censorship (9), online violations (8), ban/shutdown (7) of media organisations and killing (6) which was the most heinous type of violation recorded was in six countries.
Security agents were the major perpetrators of the violations recorded. They accounted for 80 of the 113 violations, followed distantly by state officials and individuals who were responsible for 12 violations each.
Regrettably, only 10 out of 113 of these violations have received some form of redress. No perpetrator has been arrested or identified for all six incidents of killing, four of which were perpetrated by security officials.
The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) expresses serious concern about the issue of safety of journalists and impunity for crimes against critical voices on the Continent. Impunity for crimes against journalists leads to increased attacks on journalists and dissenting voices which is inimical for democracy. AFEX calls on governments and stakeholders as a matter of urgency, to put in place measures not only to ensure that freedom of expression rights are protected but also end impunity for crimes against journalists and dissenting citizens.