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MFWA charges journalist to fight against oppression

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The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Executive Director Sulemana Braimah, has charged African Journalists to continue their fight against the oppression that they face in their respective countries.

For the challenges journalist face may be many, “but let us always remember that we face such arduous challenges not because we seek to enrich ourselves. It is because of the importance of our work to society and the threat we pose to those who seek to thrive on corruption and exploitation,” the MFWA added.

In a statement issued by Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director, the Foundation stated that African journalists have for the past decade experienced much torture and abuse in their respective countries but this should not deter them. It should toughen them to remain resolute.

“The year 2019 and the last decade was not an easy period for journalists on the continent. Many colleagues lost their lives in the line of duty. Many others were imprisoned. Others were physically abused. But let us not be deterred [but rather] remain resolute,” the statement said.

“We know the crisis of sustainability facing our profession and industry. We know about the challenges posed by what has become known as fake news. We know of the challenge of dwindling public trust for the media. We certainly know about the challenge of the different forms of oppression by governments and organised groups around the continent. And we definitely know of the challenge of our safety as we go about doing our work,” the statement read further.

The foundation further encouraged journalists that one best way to confront these challenges that face them in their line of their duty was to serve in the interest of the ordinary people always through fearless, accurate, fair, factual and balanced reporting that expose the misdeeds of leadership against the welfare of the suffering masses.



Read below the full statement.

New Year Message to African Journalists – Let’s Continue the

Fight Against Oppression

By Sulemana Braimah, Media Foundation for West Africa

Fellow Journalists of Africa, I wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year and a prosperous new decade. May the year 2020 and the new decade be a period that will be safer with less challenging for all journalists.

The year 2019 and the last decade was not an easy period for journalists on the continent.

Many colleagues lost their lives in the line of duty. Many others were imprisoned. Others were physically abused. But let us not be deterred and remain resolute.

As we enter the new year and decade, we need to remind ourselves of the crises we face and resolve to deal with them decisively. We know the crisis of sustainability facing our profession and industry. We know about the

challenges posed by what has become known as fake news. We know of the challenge of dwindling public trust for the media. We certainly know about the challenge of the different forms of oppression by governments and organised groups around the continent. And we definitely know of the challenge of our safety as we go about doing our work.

The challenges may be many, but let us always remember that we face such arduous challenges not because we seek to enrich ourselves. It is because of the importance of our work to society and the threat we pose to those who seek to thrive on corruption and exploitation. We should, thus, remember that one best way to confront these challenges is by continuing to serve the interest of the people in the best of ways. This we can achieve through fearless, accurate, fair, factual and balanced reporting that expose the misdeeds of leadership against the welfare of the suffering masses.

Let’s always remember the words of the late great Ghanaian academic, P.A.V. Ansah, who rightly noted three decades ago, that the relationship between the media and African governments are one of constant tension and conflict and that when there appears to be no conflict or tension between the two, then it’s either the media have been cowed into submission or they have become an organ of the ruling party. Let no African media be cowed into submission nor become organ of any ruling party.

The role of the media and journalists in the fight against the ills of colonialism – oppression, economic exploitation, human rights abuses, inequalities, among others – has always been praised and commended.

But today, many of the people who praised the media for their great role in fighting oppression under colonial rule are opposed to the media’s fight against oppression under self-rule by Africans.

This brings to the fore, an important question posed by the late P.A.V. Ansah in 1988, when he asked: If the same ills that the media fought against during the colonial days are persisting in post-colonial Africa, should the media abandon their fight simply because the oppressors and the victims are now of the same skin colour? I believe our answer should be a resounding no. Oppression is oppression and needs to be fought. It doesn’t matter whether the oppressor is black or white, from Africa or Europe, French or English.

The oppression, abuses, exploitation, corruption and the other ills that our forefathers and the media fought against during the colonial days still persist and in some cases, are even worse.

So the battle for the media has not ended and must not end. Africans deserve their long-awaited post-colonial freedom, which has been held hostage by African leaders.

Let’s keep fighting. Our fight for freedom and justice for our people will not be easy and indeed, no such fight has ever been easy in the history of humanity. With the support of the masses and with God on our side, we shall overcome the challenges confronting us and contribute to building a better future for Africa.

Happy New Year and a prosperous New Decade!!!

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