African Court advocates ethical journalism

By
Francis Ameyibor, GNA Correspondent, Arusha, Tanzania

Arusha, Sept. 8, GNA – The African Court for
Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) has advocated for ethical journalism since
freedom of expression, though an absolute basic human right, is not without
limits.

“Ethical journalists can contribute to a
better society through genuine professionalism,” Justice Sylvain Oré, the
AfCHPR President, stated at the opening of the media training for senior
editors and journalists from Southern, Western, Central and Northern Africa in
Arusha, Tanzania.

Justice Ore recounted vivid memories of how
the media had exposed human rights violations and offered an arena for
different voices to be heard in public discourse which befits the name the
Fourth Estate.

“However, the power of the media can also be
misused to the extent that the very functioning of democracy is threatened or
undermined,” he said.

The AfCHPR President said: “It also happens
that the media unnecessarily and unfairly abuse the privacy and integrity of
ordinary people through sheer carelessness and sensationalism and, thereby,
cause considerable damage to individuals for no good purpose at all”.

Ms Karin Pluberg, the GIZ Representative to
the African Court, admonished journalists to take keen interest in the mandate
of the court which seeks to strengthen the human rights protection system in
Africa.

The African Court also seeks to ensure
respect for and compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’
Rights as well as other international human rights instruments, through
judicial decisions.

Ms Pluberg stressed on the need for
journalists across the continent to show interest in the protection and
promotion of human rights.

Mr Nouhou Diallo, the Deputy Registrar of
the African Court, said the court operated on five main strategic objectives:
to exercise jurisdiction in all cases and disputes brought before it concerning
the interpretation and application of the Charter, the protocol and any other
relevant instrument relating to human rights ratified by the states concerned.

Other objectives are to collaborate with
sub-regional and national judicial bodies to enhance the protection of human
rights on the continent and to enhance the participation of the African people
in the work of the court among other things.

Mr Diallo said the African Court also hinges
on nine core values of the African Charter and other internationally recognized
principles of human rights and the promotion of the rule of law.

The African Court also operates on the basis
of non-discrimination and equality in the performance of its work based on the
integrity of the judges and staff, provide equal access to all potential users
and is responsive to the needs of those who approach it.

The media training is to sensitise
participants on the broad framework of the African Union agenda on integration,
development and shared values captured in the Agenda 2063 initiative and the
African Governance Architecture (AGA).

Within the framework of the strategic module
the scores of editors and journalists attending the programme would be trained
from September 7 to September 10 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The pool of skilful and knowledge-based
journalists would be ready to publicise the mandate of the court within the
broad framework of the African Union.

It would focus on enhancing the professional
skills of the journalists on how to report African Court stories for improved
coverage and public awareness as well as establish a specific pool of journalists
tagged as; “Champions of AfCHPR’’.

GNA

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