Some of Africa’s top journalists are at POLIS tomorrow for a day-long conference. They join more than 150 people who will discuss how the news media can increase governance and development across the continent. If you look at the BBC’s Africa news site it is clear that war, corruption, oppression and slavery are still the top stories when we in the West draw up our news agendas.
It will be fascinating to compare the views of veteran Africa correspondent Jon Snow of Channel 4 News who will be speaking alongside not one but two Africa Journalists Of The Year.
But in a sense it’s not about the international headlines, it is about the daily grind of good domestic reporting. Of local radio that tells people when medical clinics are open or a newspaper that exposes a corrupt official who takes bribes. There is a revolution in communications taking place across Africa. New technology like mobile phones is being taken up by the people by themselves. However, I believe that there is still a role for interventions that help train and equip journalists. And perhaps more importantly, support everyone to value the news media and to make sure that the regulation, education and market structures are in place to keep a free media alive.
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