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AU Website Protects Journalists

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The African Union has launched a website to monitor threats against journalists to protect them and support a free press.

The International Federation of Journalists reports that six African journalists were killed in 2020. Many more were threatened, arrested and censored, according to multiple media freedom and human rights groups.

The AU website will employ journalism’s most critical tool: facts. The journalists’ safety platform is planned to enable real-time response across Africa, to end impunity for attacks on journalists including harassment, arbitrary arrests, assault and killing. It also will serve as a database to keep track of attacks against journalists on the continent and track the punishment of attackers.

At the dedication of the site, officials mentioned journalists who have died in the line of duty.

“We stand on the shoulders of these giants, these heroes of the media in Africa in whose name we today launched this platform that is designed to help end the harassment, detention and even murder of journalists, just for doing their work,” said Jovial Rantao, chairman of the African Editors Forum, as reported by Voice of America. “In some of our beloved continent, freedom of the media, freedom of expression, access to information, is a matter of life or death.”

Salah Hammad, head of the AU African Governance Architecture Secretariat, said the AU believes honest journalism leads to thriving, peaceful societies.

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