Building peace in the minds of men and women

Strengthening capacity of Supreme Courts’ Judges in West Africa on the safety of journalists

03 October 2019

UNESCO's Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa-Sahel and the Supreme Court of Senegal have organized a regional workshop to strengthen the capacity of Supreme Court Judges on international and African standards for freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.

This consultation, which is in line with UNESCO's action to promote respect for freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, has brought together Supreme Courts’ Judges from ECOWAS countries at the King Fahd Hotel on 24 and 25 September 2019. They will discuss international standards and in particular international, regional and national case law on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.

According to data from UNESCO Observatory on the Safety of Journalists, the number of journalists murdered worldwide continues to increase and most of these crimes remain unsolved. UNESCO, as the United Nations agency responsible for coordinating and implementing the United Nations Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, continues to urge States and all development actors to take appropriate measures to foster a free and secure environment for journalists in times of peace or conflict. To that end, UNESCO interventions include public awareness, standards and policy development, capacity building for different actors, coalition development, research and monitoring.

With regard to capacity building, UNESCO has developed training manuals on Legal Standards on Freedom of Expression for the legal and judicial sector in Africa. Continuing its efforts, it launched in early 2019, in cooperation with the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, a free five-week online course for judges on African, international and regional standards on the same themes.

These two-day workshop will feature intense discussions between participants from several ECOWAS countries, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights and some civil society organizations, including ARTICLE19, on the issue of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. This workshop will be an opportunity to exchange and popularize case law on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.

The opening ceremony will be chaired by the First President of the Supreme Court of Senegal, Mr Mamadou B. Camara, in the presence of the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar, Mr Dimitri Sanga.

This workshop is being organized with the support of UNESCO's Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists.