By ZAM reporter
The Network of African Investigative Reporters and Editors, NAIRE, has issued a call to support their efforts in exposing regimes consisting of “kleptocrats who sell out resources, promote incompetence and nepotism, and oppress civil society.”
Noting that these same regimes harass, imprison, and even kill credible journalists, and increasingly “pay fake news reporters and publications (…) to drown out those who aim to unveil injustice,” the NAIRE members add that “international powers (should) take cognisance of reports (that) have highlighted (…) the cry for freedom that is growing louder in more and more of our countries”. As “investigative reporters, committed to democracy, social justice, transparency, and accountability”, the group says, “we need to be heard and read in London, Paris, New York and indeed Moscow, Teheran, or Beijing.”
In its “Call to Action”, NAIRE also states that reports by African investigative journalists that expose wrongs such as kleptocracy and oppression are not only important to the African continent, but to the rest of the world as well. “How will migration away from Africa subside, when kleptocrat rulers benefit from it through ever higher passport fees and involvement in human traffic agencies? How can climate change and deforestation be halted when international funding meant to address these problems disappears into individuals’ pockets? Europe has expressed concern about African military coups, but does it really expect desperate citizens to continue to submit to the rule of thieving and incompetent postcolonial regimes?”
The group pledges to continue its work as “ethical journalists who stand firm amid a barrage of fake news and paid propaganda”, while also seeking the debate “within our communities as well as with the international community and the powerful.” NAIRE further calls upon “colleagues from countries where journalism is more protected to work with us in equality and help amplify our work” and on “pro-democracy forces, powerful partner countries internationally, the European Union and the African Union to support professional journalism and forces for democracy, accountability and transparency on the continent.”
Noting that NAIRES’s reports are published through ZAM Magazine, the group pledges to continue to “build and use the ZAM platform to broadcast our calls and our pan-African transnational efforts” and to “increase its (ZAM’s) function as a channel for the editorial, security, legal and psychological support that we so sorely lack in most of our countries”. The group adds that it also plans to “engage with international supporters of democracy and free media to assist us to set up more professional media platforms of good standard in Africa itself.”
The statement has been signed by 22 NAIRE members representing or working for media houses in Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Mali, Cameroon, Mozambique, Comoros, Malawi, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
See the full statement signed by participating journalist below.
NAIRE reports can be found here.