Eastern, Southern Africa tasked to respect media freedom

Eastern, Southern Africa tasked to respect media freedom
Press freedom has declined in Eastern and Southern Africa. COURTESY PHOTO (© AP Images)

Sandton City, South Africa | URN | The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have demanded for media freedom in Eastern and Southern Africa countries.

Addressing journalists at the capacity building training for media at Sandton City, South Africa, Hedda Krausz, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs at Swedish Embassy in Pretoria, said without media freedom Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) might not be achieved.

United Nations in September 2015 adopted the 17 SDGs that need to be achieved by member countries by the year 2030. They include no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, gender equality, decent work and economic growth and affordable and clean energy.

Krausz said there is a lot of infringement on media rights and freedom world over but situation is a bit severe in ESA region. She said media freedom is vital in the attainment of SDGs.

“Media freedom is in the central part in attainment of SDGs. SDGs cannot be realized without freedom for journalists. Women must also be put in a very single activity we do,” Krausz said.

Amnesty International report of May indicated that freedom for media was shrinking in southern Africa countries among others Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

Southern Africa co-ordinator for Amnesty International, Deprose Muchena, said media freedom remains under threat because media practitioners were being put in jail for simply doing their job.

Reports by Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and Human Rights Network for Journalists have consistently out police and army as top violations of journalists rights.

Read Also: Press freedom in Uganda not getting any better – Journalists

Prof Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO’s ESA regional coordinator, said journalist should always to zoom out of some situations in order to understand realities behind some stories.

Gijzen said some events are given faces that do not actually present the reality thus to avoid being misled journalist should always try to zoom out in order to understand the reality and impact behind.

Gijzen also emphasized media freedom as vital in spheres of all life. He urged journalist to always be ahead of what society thinks.