The Media foundation for West Africa (MFWA) based in Accra, Ghana, has called on all freedom of expression activist to implement strategies to force governments in West Africa to put an end to the culture of impunity. MFWA made the statement on November 23, 2012 as the world marked the International Day to End Impunity.
MFWA’s Executive Director, Professor Kwame karikari, said in a statement; “A culture of impunity creates a climate of injustice and insecurity for those practicing their right to freedom of expression. A culture of impunity leads to a world where people are afraid to speak out, where criticism is stifled, where the hard questions don’t get asked, where the powerful don’t get challenged. The result is a world where free expression is silenced.”
As a regional freedom of expression organisation, MFWA saluted all journalists and media organisations in West Africa, who have been emotionally and physically assaulted, abused, vandalized and gruesomely murdered or have been subjected to any other form of intimidation and harassment in the line of duty.
In the same vein, the group used the day to commemorate the memories of Gambian journalists, Deyda Hydara of The Point newspaper, who was brutally murdered by unknown assailants on December 16, 2004 and Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a senior reporter of the Banjul-based, Daily Observer, who was arrested on July 11, 2006 by the notorious National Intelligence Agency of The Gambia and has not been seen thereafter.
Musa Saidykhan, editor-in-chief of the banned The Independent newspaper, was also arrested on March 27, 2006, held incommunicado for 22 days without charge and tortured until he lost consciousness following articles he published about the March 21, 2006 alleged foiled coup.
Other remembered slain colleagues are Dele Giwa of Nigeria and Norbert Zongo of Burkina Faso.
“These great and distinguished journalists dedicated their lives for democracy, development and human rights. We owe them a great deal of respect,” Prof Karikari said.
MFWA saluted all journalists and human rights defenders who are fighting to end impunity in the world, particularly in Africa, and congratulated all African organizations which are working to end impunity and promote freedom of expression.
The group called on free expression advocates and the general public to protest The Gambian government’s refusal to investigate Hydara’s murder, to free Manneh and comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decision on Musa Saidykhan.