Military Interventions In Africa, Danger To Democracy, Press Freedom – Congress Of African Journalists

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*Demands guarantee for press freedom

By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

The Congress of African Journalists (CAJ) on Friday, decried the spate of military take overs in Africa, stressing that democracy remains the best form of governance.

According to the CAJ President who is also President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Chris Isiguzo, the military take overs constitutes danger to democracy and press freedom on the continent.

Chief Isiguzo pointed out that the spate of military take overs in Africa is capable of undermining the gains being made in the march towards stability and progress in Africa as a continent.

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

The CAJ President added, ” 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”

Chief Isiguzo tasked 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.  

According to him, 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.

” 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”

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