African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX)
A man takes part in a demonstration to mark the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Burkinabe investigative reporter Norbert Zongo, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 13 December 2018, OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT/AFP/Getty Images

Against the backdrop of World Press Freedom Day commemorations in Ethiopia this year, the AFEX network is reminding African governments to actively promote and defend freedom of expression on the continent.

Tanzanian troops stand at rest as a plane comes in a for a landing at Julius Nyerer International Airport in Dar es Salaam, 16 February 2008, JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Tanzanian authorities prevented Dr. Wairagala Wakabi, executive director of CIPESA, from attending the commemoration of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders’ Day when they arrested him upon arrival in the country and deported him back to Uganda several hours later.

Zimbabwean journalists sit with their mouths taped to protest police methods at the Harare Central Police Station, 28 July 2017, JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

The Annual Freedom of Expression Situation in Africa Report for 2018 highlights the high level of impunity on the continent for crimes against journalists, based on the 208 freedom of expression violations recorded during 2018 of which only 14 of the cases received remedial action.

A supporter of a jailed journalist Madiambal Diagne participates in a rally in Dakar, Senegal, 23 July 2004, SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

At their annual general meeting held recently, AFEX discussed the increasing attacks on media freedoms and freedom of expression across the continent.

A school janitor folds the Mozambican national flag at sunset inside a Public School in Nacala, 4 July 2018, GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Member organisations of the AFEX together with regional and international organisations advocating for media freedom are calling on authorities in Mozambique to unconditionally release journalist Amade Abubacar who has been in jail since January this year.

Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno makes a speech during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, 27 February 2019, Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

AFEX welcomes the appeal sent by African Union Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Lawrence Mute, to President Idriss Deby on the social media blackout in Chad.

A Zimbabwe activist speaks to the press as he arrives at the Harare Magistrates Court, 17 January 2019, JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

Four journalists have been arbitrarily arrested and detained since January 2019, another journalist sentenced to a year in prison while one media house has been suspended for critical reportage about state officials.

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80 civil society organizations have signed a petition that calls for an immediate end to the blocking of social media platforms in Chad, in effect since March 2018.

A woman marks her ballot for the Zambian Presidential elections at a polling station in Lusaka, 20 January 2015, GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

African Freedom of Expression Exchange together with its member MiSA Zambia is calling on Zambia’s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to reconsider the decision to suspend Prime Television.

People walk by a billboard with a picture of the incumbent president Edgar Lungu, of the PF ruling Party, ahead of Presidential and legislative elections in Lusaka, Zambia, 9 August 2016, GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

The Secretary General of Zambia’s ruling PF has barred Prime Television from covering any of its party activities, while supporters have assaulted 3 of the station’s reporters in separate incidents within a space of two weeks.

Supporters of the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Democratic Party (PDP), sit in front of the local campaign office in Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria, 15 February 2019, YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the #KeepItOn coalition highlighted the need for the authorities to keep the Internet on as it is an enabler of other rights, including freedom of expression and access to information.

Sudanese demonstrators gather during an anti-government protest in the Haj Yousef neighbourhood, in Khartoum, 22 January 2019, STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Governments are shutting down the internet while using brute force to silence their citizens.

A protester holds a placard during a demonstration of Zimbabwean citizens outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, 16 January 2019, PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP/Getty Images

AFEX denounces in particular, the use of lethal force against protesters resulting in the alleged killing of at least five persons with several reported injuries. AFEX has also received reports of arbitrary arrest and detention of protesters.

Sudanese protesters attend an anti-government demonstration in the capital Khartoum, 6 January 2019, Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

AFEX condemns the summoning of the Editor in Chief of Al Watan Arabic newspaper by South Sudan’s Media Authority, for publishing articles on on-going demonstrations in neighbouring Sudan.