World Association of News Publishers

About the Declaration of Table Mountain

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About the Declaration of Table Mountain

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Abolishing insult and criminal defamation laws in Africa and setting a free press higher on the agenda

In country after country, the African press is crippled by a panoply of repressive measures, from the jailing and persecution of journalists to the widespread scourge of 'insult laws' and criminal defamation. As the start of an intensive campaign to improve this appalling situation, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) adopted the Declaration of Table Mountain on 3 June 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa, during its annual meeting.

Egyptian photographers hold pictures of colleagues being arrested by policemen during a protest outside the headquarters of the journalists syndicate in Cairo on January 25, 2009. The protest was against police interference in their work. AFP PHOTO/CRIS BOURONCLE

Through this Declaration, WAN-IFRA has stated its conviction that Africa urgently needs a strong, free and independent press to act as a watchdog over public institutions, a crucial role that the press is hindered from and punished for playing by the widespread resort to 'insult laws' and criminal defamation, in particular.

Major African and international non-governmental organisations that, day after day, defend and promote freedom of expression and freedom of the press have now endorsed the Declaration and expressed their readiness to contribute to this campaign. Together, with determination, we will now aggressively press our case in the hope for a better future for African media freedom.

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Alison Meston's picture

Alison Meston


2011-02-16 18:20

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WAN-IFRA’s Declaration of Table Mountain is an earnest appeal to all Africans, particularly those in power, to recognise that political and economic progress flourishes in a climate where the press is free and independent of governmental, political or economic control. Read more ...