Noting that in country after country, the African press is crippled by a panoply of repressive measures, from the jailing and persecution of journalists to the widespread scourge of 'insult laws' and criminal defamation, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) adopted the Declaration of Table Mountain on 3 June 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Through this Declaration, WAN and WEF state their conviction that Africa urgently needs a strong, free and independent press to act as a watchdog over public institutions, a crucial role that the press is hindered from and punished for playing by the widespread resort to 'insult laws' and criminal defamation.
Attached you will find a report containing outlines of cases in Africa where the authorities have used 'insult' or criminal defamation laws or other restrictive laws or repressive conduct with the purpose to either censor the media or to prevent access to information. There are about 229 editors, journalists, camera operators, online editors, bloggers, and people conducting websites who have been affected by these incidents by being harassed, assaulted and/or beaten, arrested, detained or imprisoned in 27 African countries including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. This list has been compiled for the period 1 January 2007 to 31 May 2007.
The list is not exhaustive and there are gaps because of poor communication, censorship and fear of the consequences of disclosure. The actual number of people involved would be much greater than the total given above if it had been stated how many people were involved in some of the incidents such as when a radio station or newspaper was closed. These have been counted as single person incidents.
To download the Declaration of Table Mountain, please click here :