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UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

04/28/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/29/2021 03:07

Africa Forum to reflect on press freedom 30 years after the Windhoek Declaration

The Africa Forum set for 30 April 2021 will reflect on the media environment in Africa since the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on 3 May 1991. It will bring together key players in the media sector as the world celebrates 30 years of the Windhoek Declaration that gave birth to World Press Freedom Day.

Running under theme, '30 Years after the Windhoek Declaration', the Forum will take a hybrid format with physical participants in Windhoek, Namibia while others will join virtually.

Apart from reflecting on the media environment in Africa, participants will also deliberate on the sub-themes of 2021 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) including media viability, transparency of online platforms, and media and information literacy.
Participants will also contribute to the new Windhoek Declaration dubbed Windhoek+30 for the promotion of freedom of expression, press freedom, access to information and safety of journalists in Africa.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) will launch the first Southern Africa Press Freedom Report 2019-2020 during the Forum. The report highlights some of the key issues and challenges faced by the media in Southern Africa.

Ambassador Salah Hammad, Head of AU African Governance Architecture and Senior Human Rights Expert, H.E Commissioner Jamesina king, Sierra Leone, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa Prof. Hubert Gijzen are among the speakers at the forum.

The Windhoek Declaration brought instrumental changes to the media landscape and press freedom globally. World Press Freedom Day 2021 has come back home to Africa with global celebrations set for Namibia from 29 April to 3 May.

Through WPFD 2021 media actors in Africa will reaffirm the crucial role of the media for SDGs, Agenda 2063 and sustainable development in the region. The media plays a pivotal role as a tool of development by ensuring access to information for the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063 'the Africa we want' also linking with the 2014 Bali Road Map, which advocates for the role of the media in comprehending 'the future we want for all'.

Access to information is a fundamental right to free expression in Africa as in other parts of the world. However, the safety of journalists and media workers continues to be a huge challenge with increasing reports of attacks such as arbitrary arrest and detention, jailing, physical assault, crippling fines, use of or introduction of laws that are inimical to freedom of expression and even killings, which are used as weapons to silence critical journalism in many countries around the world.

Register here to participate in WPFD 2021. For more information, including the concept note and programme please visit the dedicated website.