Our Media Work

• Creative and informative media outputs are at the core of our approach. At AU Watch we believe that media and communication can inform, connect and empower. They can help defenders, institutions and even governments bring about critical and lasting changes. Advocacy and outreach activities are two major strands of our communication approach.

• A free and diverse media rooted in a strong culture of independent journalism is a cornerstone of effective governance, and AU Watch media play an enormously important role in the protection of human rights. We expose human rights violations and offer an arena for different voices to be heard in public discourse.

• At AU Watch, we believe that we can only achieve an Africa of 2063 where everyone’s human rights are respected through the hard work of all of us especially human rights defenders, people who tirelessly champion and defend the rights of others, and our cameras, microphones and newspapers are a crucial plank of that work.

Want to get involved in our media work? Do you have journalism skills? We can train you if you are that interested. Ok, come along.

What We Concretely Do on the Ground

The importance and role of the media to correct injustices and advance human rights cannot be overstated. We use the power of the media to monitor and report on the activities of the AU and its Members holding them accountable to the standard of the Constitutive Act and the high ideals they have set for themselves. We support the work of defenders by giving media and press coverage to they are doing, producing news, in-depth documentaries, expert analysis, commentary, interviews, reports and providing training in the media. Our greater mission is to empower people, local communities and the local media in Africa to decide how they are governed in Africa.

Investigative Reporting

What do criminals, corrupt corporations and crooked politicians have in common? They all fear investigative journalists, whose job is to expose wrongdoing and hypocrisy by holding the powerful to account.

We carry out hard-hitting investigations about abuses against defenders who are working hard to expose governance and human rights issues. We push for change. Our media team produces a range of editorially rigorous and informative factual programmes. We also work with local, national and international media to extend the reach of our arm.

We work in partnership with other media organisations and the creative industry to give defenders a stronger voice. We encourage the media and creative industry to share their time, knowledge and creativity to protect defenders Working together, we amplify defenders’ voices by developing their communication and digital skills to help them gain visibility and do their work better. We also run programmes, like ‘Defenders Voices’ to give extra support to them – letting them know they are not alone.


AU Watch TV

Our approach to TV to defend HRDs seeks to not only to make a point – challenging the way the AU operates, but also to make a difference. We work closely with media houses, local and national broadcasters, non-governmental organizations, government ministries and broadcasters to give visibility to the work defenders in Africa.


We are working to provide every AU Watch chapter with an AU Watch Radio (Online or FM based) that will source and provide content for that chapter. Our chapters will provide audio-visual and print materials for use by community groups or outreach workers and work with local community organizations to convene discussion groups, road shows, street theatre and community events on issues that affect their daily lives and that are important to AU Watch. The objective is to reach people who might not ordinarily have access to mass media and facilitate more discussion, deepening our impact and providing vital opportunities for audiences to input into program-making.


AU Watch Radios

AU Watch Studios

What AU Watch Studios Provide
Another tool in our arsenal to protect defenders are our upcoming studios

AU Watch services will be streamed across multiple devices and operating systems such as Mac, tablets, mobile smartphone, PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox and many other platforms. All you will need to do is when the site is up and running is to subscribe to it on the AU Watch website.

AU Watch Studio being developed in Banjul, The Gambia is an all in one audio, video, and web production studio. It is a photographers’ casting agency, model agency and production companies dream space, and the ideal space to shoot portfolios, small production TV commercials, videos, auditions and castings. It brings it all together with audio, video and live performance all under one roof and ready to stream on the web to give your band or project the tools, products and content necessary to keep you successfully in front of your fans.


Without HRDs, injustices go unchallenged, the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our societies have little or no protection from abusers of power and governments and businesses can act with impunity.

AU Watch Country and International Channel

Do you have some idea how TV and radio channels operate and produce content that they air? Did you know that some of the content that TV and radio channels broadcast does not actually belong to them? Have you observed that some channels are only available on set days and time? There are quite a lot of TV stations that can air anything especially if it’s paid for. AU Watch Media Services is making it possible for every AU Watch chapter to broadcast AU Watch footages and messages to millions of people in Africa and around the world through the medium of radio and TV.

It’s pretty straightforward, but can only happen through a combined effort. It can happen in two ways:

(a) The task is to negotiate a slot and time with your public broadcaster to air AU Watch messages. AU Watch Media and Outreach Services will provide content by making the TV and radio programs and supplying them to your chapter.Chapters take advantage of their local radio and/or TV outlets and put the programs on-the-air at designated times and days.

We inform, connect, inspire and empower defenders in Africa.

(b) Another model we are exploring is AU Watch HQ is negotiating slots and time with a 24-hr satellite digital channel or station that broadcast around the world. We are now exploring hours on a Monday and 2 hours on a Friday. That is our AU Watch TV Channel – your front row seat and backstage pass to all that’s happening at the AU!

The truth is there are hundreds of public-access TV channels around. These are channels, often hosted by local cable companies, that allow the public access to make and put on their own TV programs, usually at no charge!

Want to help us establish our radios, studios and TV stations? Please write to us

Next, Let’s Talk Radio

AU Watch Media and Outreach Services is producing live broadcast, documentaries, films and news and commentaries and distributing them to our chapters and partners.

If you are interested in receiving our programs, please give us a shout.


Coming soon!

A human rights defender or human rights activist is a person who, individually or with others, acts to promote or protect human rights. They can be journalists, environmentalists, whistle-blowers, trade unionists, lawyers, teachers, housing campaigners, or just individuals acting alone. They can defend rights as part of their jobs or in a voluntary capacity. As a result of their activities, they can sometimes be the subject of reprisals and attacks of all kinds, including smears, surveillance, harassment, false charges, arbitrary detention, restrictions on the right to freedom of association, and physical attacks.

AU Watch News

Our monthly news magazine ‘AU Watch News,provides news, interviews, articles, op-eds, authoritative analysis and up-to-date commentary on current topics and matters.

Project Defend Human Rights Defenders In Africa

AU Watch is rolling out a Defenders Project! Got an idea how to do it?
We are interested in supporting Defenders projects that strengthen civic voice so that it:
• Is more effective in holding governance institutions to account
• Enhances involvement in policy processes
• Shapes public discourse

Your project should address one or both of the following outcomes and may include the use of creative expression to achieve project aims:
1. Stronger civic voices engaging in policy processes to hold government to account:
Your project will strengthen the capacity of civic voices in contributing to:

  • Monitoring government commitments and action
  • Supporting the implementation of the sustainable development goals or other international agreements, and related local and national policy agendas
  • Advocating policy priorities to government that address gender and other power imbalances, disparities and discrimination
  • Strengthening participatory methods of engaging in regional national and local governance processes
  • Raising awareness and advocating for specific policy issues
2. Public discourse more reflective of less-heard voices

  • Your project will support less heard voices to contribute to public       discourse on development issues
  • Your project will support less heard voices to access policy spaces  and/or platforms with the potential to amplify voices and influence public discourse.

This project is on hold because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Please check back later.

Project ‘Index on Media Freedom in Africa’

Demonising the media: Threats to journalists in Africa – Insulted. Menaced. Spat at. Discredited by their nation’s leaders. Assaulted. Sued. Homes strafed with automatic weapons. Rape threats. Death threats. Assassinations. This is the landscape faced by journalists throughout Africa for decades.

AU Watch’s Index on Media Freedom in Africa project monitors threats, limitations and violations related to media freedom all over Africa for the purpose of identifying and analysing issues, trends and drivers and exploring possible response options and opportunities for advocating media freedom. The project collects and analyses limitations, threats and violations that affect a journalist as they do their job.

Understanding how countries in Africa try to influence the media is a first step to preserve press freedom.Africa’s first Yearbook on Media Freedom, reviews the media landscape for the past year. Funding permitting will become a permanent feature of AU Watch’s objective of promoting media freedom in Africa.

Standing-up For Press and Media Freedom in Africa
AU Watch is rolling out Africa’s first regional Media Freedom Index project to monitor violations against media professionals, promote media freedom, investigative journalism and defend journalists under threat.

AU Watch Media Freedom Index presents the state of press freedom in Africa based on a broad measure that encompasses personal, civil, and economic freedom. Working with the African Commission Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression, local journalists on the continent, academics and press freedom campaigners, this project will improve the capacity of journalists and media workers to better monitor and report media violations in Africa and strengthen regional and global partnership networks.

This AU Watch Africa-wide project will be geared at mitigating the consequences of the observed deterioration of press and media freedom all over the continent. It will provide tangible protection for journalists and will encompass fact-finding, advocacy, monitoring, informing the African public and awareness raising. This action will bring violations to the forefront, and will provide practical help to journalists under threat. It will be carried out in collaboration with African Commission Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa, regional and local stakeholders in the field of media freedom.

Mapping Media Freedom
The project will track limitations, threats and violations that affect media professionals as they do their job in Africa. 

Data recorded via Mapping Media Freedom will be used to generate empirical analyses and to identify regional/national patterns, case studies and positive developments in the field of media freedom and pluralism in Africa.

Interested in supporting this project? Please call.

AU Watch Regional Conference For Media Freedom 9-10 December 2020

The Governing Council of AU Watch is hostinga ‘Regional ConferenceFor Media Freedom’from 9-10 December 2020. It is part of AU Watch’s campaign to shine a regional spotlight on media freedom and increase the cost to those that are attempting to restrict it.
The conference will be structured around 4 themes:
• protection and prosecution, including impunity
• regional and national frameworks and legislation
• building trust in media and countering disinformation
• media sustainability

Regional leaders, representatives from the media industry, journalists, civil society and academia will gather to attend interactive panel discussions. The first day will focus on defining the challenges, the second on framing solutions

Conference Agenda

The following sessions will be taking place:
Day 1:
• regional session: laws, lies and liberty – understanding the media landscape in Africa
• launch of Joint Declaration with the ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa
• trust in the media: the African Commission in focus
• media freedom in West, East Central and Southern Africa: challenges and opportunities
• media freedom in North Africa
• media ownership and independence
• (sub) regional mechanism on the safety of journalists in Africa
• under pressure: why public media matters
• safety of female journalists
• innovation to end journalist persecution
• safety and protection of journalists 1: understanding the contemporary threats
• supporting media freedom in challenging environments
• protecting journalists in conflict zones
• international partnership for information and democracy
• media freedom: journalists under threat

Day 2:
• what is media freedom: why is it important?
• what can governments do to increase media sustainability?
• taking a stand: how we defend media freedom
• media freedom campaign: towards 2021 – sustaining the impact
• navigating disinformation
• safety and protection of journalists II: towards a shared solution
• regional session: strengthening media freedom across Africa
• legal panel
• religion and the media: telling the untold story
• press freedom, development and democracy in Africa

View the full conference agenda.

This Conference is under review, following the Covid-19 pandemic. Please check back later for updated information.

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