Over the years, democracy has been considered as a governance model that upholds respect for human right, freedom of expression, the rule of law, and gives citizen the responsibility to elect their leaders and participate in the governance process.
In ensuring respect for these democratic principles, the media plays a key role by putting in the limelight the ills in the governance process, holding governments accountable, and providing information to citizens so that they can make informed decisions and be part of governance process.
Unfortunately, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, West Africa has witnessed a setback in democratic practices and violations of key democratic tenets as the region recorded a resurgence of attacks against media practitioners, and violations of human rights. Furthermore, several governments have adopted emergency laws and practices which in normal times would be considered undemocratic.
As the world marks the celebration of the International Day of Democracy under the theme: COVID-19: A spotlight on Democracy, the MFWA shares special report highlighting several violations against journalists during the COVID-19 pandemic in West Africa and urges governments to take steps to ensure the safety of journalists. We further urge governments to scale down restrictive measures as and when the COVID-19 situation improves and to scrap all emergency legislations when no longer necessary.
Click here to read full report.