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GJA launches 3rd African Media Convention

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The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Wednesday launched the third African Media Convention (AMC) in Accra with the inauguration of a Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the May 15-17, 2024 continent-wide media conference.

The three-day convention will discuss trends that impede freedom of expression and freedom of the media, media viability and sustainability, as well as the safety and security of journalists.

About 600 international delegates from 50 African countries are expected to participate, including delegates from the African Union Commission, civil society organisations (CSOs), the diplomatic corps, non-governmental organisations, researchers and academia, among others.

It will be held on the theme: “Freedom of Expression, Sustainable Development, and Environmental Crises”.

The convention, an initiative of The African Editors’ Forum (TAEF), is designed to safeguard the hard-won media freedoms and safety of journalists on the continent, and seeks to bring together media experts, scholars, students, journalists, journalists’ unions and associations, editors, public and private sectors, including cooperating partners from around the African continent, as well as representatives from UNESCO.

Focus

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who launched the convention and inaugurated the 18-member LOC to see to the organisation of the convention, said the event should focus on how to combat misinformation on the continent’s social media platforms, especially in the face of threats to democracy, and to collaborate and deepen content creation designed to positively programme Africa’s Gen Zs.

“The AMC offers a refreshing platform that has the potential to change this narrative and lead us to work together to make significant impact in our industry on the continental level,” he stated.

The convention, he said, would generate a coalition of ideas, support systems and actors to shape the future of the media in Africa in the future.

“The convergence of Africa’s media elite should give us an opportunity to, among others, discuss how to promote a positive African narrative globally which will lead to attracting more positive interest in Africa,” he added.

Reflect

The GJA President, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, said the conference, which would coincide with next year’s World Press Freedom Day celebration, would offer an opportunity to collectively reflect on the multidimensional challenges, the fundamental role of journalism and the transformative power that reliable information had, achieve sustainable development and consolidate democracies.

He explained that the convention would, among other things, serve as a platform to assess and discuss the situation of the right to press freedom globally, identifying areas where journalists face repression, violence and censorship.

He said it would also call for the importance of reliable and accurate information, especially that which denounced and investigated the environmental crisis and its effects.

Mr Dwumfour stressed that, the conference intended to benefit both the country and journalists by offering network opportunities, boost tourism, attract foreign investors and project the country as a beacon of democracy on the African continent.

He, therefore, urged journalists to take keen interest as the convention expanded the frontiers of press freedom and built the capacities of journalists.

Beacon

The Rector of the University of Media, Arts and Communication (UniMAC)-Institute of Journalism, Prof. Eric Opoku Mensah said the country was a beacon of press freedom and journalistic excellence in Africa.

He noted that the convention underscored the country’s pivotal role in shaping the future of media discourse across the African continent.
Prof. Mensah said the convention was a testament to the country’s shared commitment to elevate the standards of journalism, foster innovation and champion the principles of free speech, transparency and accountability, particularly in the upcoming 2024 general election.

“Let us pledge to invest in the continual professional development of our media practitioners and let us ensure that they are equipped to navigate the complexities of the digital age while upholding the highest ethical standards,” he added. 

Inauguration 

The 18-member LOC are Fatimatu Abubakar, a Deputy Minister of Information, who co-chairs the committee with Mr Dwumfour, the GJA President; Rebecca Quaicoe Duho, a representative of the Association of Women in the Media (ASWIN), some members of the GJA executive, security agencies and others.

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