The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) and the Congress of African Journalists (CAJ), who convened at the 2nd African Media Convention (AMC) in Lusaka in 2023 with the support of UNESCO, have once again joined forces to establish the African Lawyers Media Network (ALMN).

Acknowledging that despite some progress, the majority of African countries continue to grapple with violations of freedom of expression, including the enactment of regressive legislation, threats of arrests and other intimidation tactics against journalists, including vandalism of media property, imposition of stringent licensing conditions, regulations conferring broad oversight powers, hindering of internet access, and banning newspapers from publishing critical articles or demanding accountability.

The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, essential for fostering a free and secure environment for journalists and media workers, both online and offline, in both conflict and non-conflict situations, are at the heart of the establishment of the AMLN.

AMLN, the first-ever continent-wide network of media lawyers, aims to safeguard and promote press freedom, provide legal expertise, and support journalists and media houses in advocating for a legal environment conducive to independent and responsible journalism across AU Member States. This initiative garnered validation from over 60 key stakeholders across the continent.

Currently hosted by PALU at its continental offices in Arusha, Tanzania, the AMLN is set to be officially launched during the 3rd AMC, a continental gathering aimed at safeguarding hard-won media freedoms and journalist safety on the continent, scheduled for 15-17 May, 2024, in Accra, Ghana. The convention will also serve as a prime opportunity for the AMLN to identify key focus areas and present recommendations.

As a precursor to the launch and as a side event of the AMC, PALU and CAJ will conduct a capacity-building workshop for a select number of journalists and lawyers, showcasing the potential benefits that the ALMN can offer its beneficiaries. More information to follow.

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