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CAJ kicks against military coups in Africa, demands press freedom

August 30, 2023

PRESS RELEASE

CAJ Expresses Concern over Increasing Military Interventions in Africa, calls for Guarantees for Press Freedom

The Congress of African Journalists (CAJ) has expressed concern over the increasing spate of military interventions in Africa, citing the latest cases of Niger on July 26 and Gabon on August 30,2023.

CAJ says the spate of military take overs are a danger to democracy and press freedom, which threatens to undermine the gains being made in the march towards stability and progress in the continent.

“Democracy remains the best form of government and we urge African leaders to promote meaningful dialogue, people –oriented programs, respect for the will of the people and the building of strong electoral systems that guarantee peaceful transitions,” said CAJ President Chris Isiguzo.

The CAJ President has called on the military leaders who have taken over in Niger and Gabon to respect press freedom and guarantee an enabling environment for both the national and international media outlets to discharge their mandate of informing the citizens and the world of the situation in both countries.

“We call for calm and dialogue between the parties involved to return the two countries to the path of democracy and the rule of law. We also call on the African Union and the international community to launch intervention processes that promote peaceful settlement of disputes rather than actions that may aggravate the delicate situations in the two countries,” added the CAJ president.

Following the coup in Niger on July 26, both local and international media have faced challenges in reporting about the developments in the country. Journalists and media houses have faced threats.

On August 3, 2023 the military authorities suspended the operations of France 24 and Radio France International (RFI). A number of both local and international journalists have since reported threats of attacks in the course of their work. The authorities have also cautioned the public against the use of social media to publish messages that might “disrupt” social cohesion.

CAJ has expressed fear that the military intervention in Gabon, just like in Niger, and earlier on in Mali and Burkina Faso, may undermine press freedom and deny citizens and the international community access to information about developments in the country.

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