FILEP 2011

FILEP 2011

The International Festival for Freedom of Expression and the Press Declaration (FILEP)



We, the participants to the International Festival for Freedom of Expression and the Press, whose theme is « From Windhoek 1991 to Ouagadougou 2009: Outcome & prospects of the press freedom » organised at Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) from 4th to 7th November 2009,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recalling the provisions of the International Pact on civilian and political rights,

Recalling the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights,

Recalling the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,

Recalling the Declaration on the Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa

1.         Declare the following:

2.         In accordance with the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the creation, the maintainance and the reinforcing of an independent press, that is pluralist and free, are essential for progress and preservation of democracy in a country,  as well as for economic growth;

3.         By independent press,  should be understood a press on which public power does not exercise any political or economic influence, as well as the control by the press of the equipment necessary for the production and distribution of newspapers, magazines and periodical publications;  

4.         By pluralist press, should be understood the ending of monopolies of any kind on radio and television waves and the existence of the largest possible number of newspapers, magazines, and periodical publications, reflecting the largest  possible spectrum of points of views within the  community;

5.         The increasing number of African countries where there is the existence of a democracy based on a multiparty system, is highly appreciated as it createsa favourable climate for the development of a pluralist and independent press;

6.      Freedom of speech is an essential component for democracy; it is both a symbol of democracy and the most accurate barometer to establish the nature and the consistency of democracy;  

7.         In Africa today despite the progress in democracy observed in some countries, there are unfortunately some serious violations in many others; 

8.       The violations of democracy taking place in various countries are threats to the exercise of the freedom of speech and of the press; and in particular, journalists and editors are still facing repression:  assassinations, abusive arrests, detentions and censorship. Their activities are hindered by different types of political and economic pressures as, among others, restrictions on the supply of newsprint for printing newspapers, prior authorisation restricting the freedom of publication, restrictions on the issuing of visas,  stopping journalists from travelling from one country to another, restriction on free exchange of news and information, restriction on the free flow of newspapers within and outside national boundaries;

9.         Many journalists and editors are in jail in Africa and 144 journalists have been killed by exercising their duties between 1991 and 2009;

10.      African states who have detained journalists because of their professional activities, should in order to show how sincere they are, free them from jail without any delay. Journalists who have been obliged to leave their countries should be free to return to their respective homes and to resume their professional activities; 

11.      The governments of African countries where journalists have been assassinated should put everything in place for light to be shed on these assassinations by an impartial and independent justicial methods;

12.      The African Union Summit of Heads of States and Government should include in the agenda of its next session, the adoption of a Protocol to the African Chart of Human and People's Rights dealing with  freedom of speech and press;

13.      African States are encouraged to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance within the time limit.

14.      For Freedom of Expresion, to be more effective, political leaders have to put in place economic models that can foster the effective development of media.


Done in Ouagadougou the 6 November 2009

    The participants


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