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AU, editors meet to formulate ways of telling the 'African story'

20 June 2016, 20:55

Accra - Editors from various media houses across the continent have committed to play their part in the development of Africa, through objective reporting and analysis of the African Union’s work through Agenda 2063. 

In a press statement sent to News24, more than 30 top level African media personalities from across the continent met recently with AU representatives in Accra, Ghana.

The editors deliberated on a number of issues, including how best the AU 2063 agenda could be taken forward.

The forum provided an opportunity for frank interaction between the AU and the media, with a combination of information sharing, discussions, brainstorming and planning.

To support the discussions, the African Union Commission (AUC) delegation distributed copies of the AU handbook and the first 10-year implementation plan of Agenda 2063 as key resources.

Media took the opportunity to highlight the challenges they faced in reporting on the AU's activities and to suggest ways of improvement.

Ambassador Jean Mfasoni, Special Advisor to AUC chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said that the summit's aim was to take the editors through the aspirations and major expected outcomes of Africa's Agenda 2063, as well as key successes that had been achieved under the Agenda to date. 

More positive stories 

"Our media needs to reflect the true Africa as it is, in an accountable and transparent manner, with its positive achievements and negative aspects to be corrected in order to reach better levels of performance for the benefit of all African peoples. Your sustained efforts can greatly facilitate public awareness of the Africa we want, around its seven aspirations," Mfasoni said.

At the beginning of the year, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe called on African journalists to write more positive stories about the continent.

Mugabe was quoted at the time as saying that African journalists were "stuck in a rut" of writing negative stories about the continent and should concentrate on positive things like football.

"Report the good things that Africa is doing. There are many positives, including football," the Zimbabwe leader was quoted saying.

In recent months, the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng issued a ban televising the destruction of property during any public protests.

According to a Channel 24 report, Motsoeneng claimed that he took "this bold decision to show that violent protests are not necessary" because the SABC has a "mandate to educate the citizens".

Reports indicate that the SABC boss's decision to ban coverage of violent protests came three years after South African President Jacob Zuma called for more positive news reporting.

According to Business Tech, Zuma said that, in ensuring balance and fairness, journalists should put the country first before any other consideration.

A a technical paper presented by the AUC highlighted the necessity for a long term, substantive relationship with key African media editors - one that had clear strategies and an action plan so as to effectively tell the story of Africa.

The meeting came ahead of the African Union Summit to be held in Kigali, Rwanda next month.

It was expected that similar talks would be held on the side-lines of the summit.


- News24


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