Kampala - regional Journalists have been urged to stand up against, and report cases of media rights violation and repression as the two are solely responsible for derailing professional journalism worldwide and Africa in particular.
The advice was given by Rashweat Mukundu, a renowned Zimbabwean press freedom activist during the East African Journalists Association (EAJA) workshop on press freedoms.
The workshop that ended Wednesday brought together members of the press from 12 the East African sub-region which included Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Seychelles, Djibouti, Namibia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Comoros and Sudan.
Mukundu who is also the programme director at the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said that journalists as targeted victims of harassment and intimidation should act as whistleblowers in times of oppression as it is the only means of paving the way for credible media institutions and practitioners.
The 2-day workshop organized by the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU) and the Open Society Institute, mainly focused on violations of journalist rights in Africa, how to manage the tension between the media and politicians and work on creating structures that can strengthen professional journalism in Africa.
Participants were urged to provide media alerts either negative or positive to the general public which would improve on the media freedoms of the journalists.
It was agreed that that alerts be given by monitors to be placed in all member states mainly with an aim of fighting distortions by different western media activists.
Rwanda was represented by James Munyaneza, the 1st Vice President Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ).
Munyaneza told the conference that in Rwanda media laws have been improved and this has contributed to proficiency in journalism.
The press freedom workshop participants condemned the closure of four radio stations in Uganda saying that it was denying the right to freedom of opinion and expression and this contradicts the article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us, so we should fight for our selves and appreciate the partners who have been at the forefront of fighting the rights of journalists,” said Omar Faruk, the secretary general of the East African Journalists Association EAJA).
The workshop on press freedoms in Kampala was first of its kind to be held since its establishment of EAJA in 2007.