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7th Edition of the African Media Leaders Forum

Monday 16 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Brussels,Johannesburg, November 16th, 2015 (SIGNIS/I. Irene/ African Media Leaders Forum/ This is Africa)–. More than 600 participants convened in Johannesburg for the 7th edition of the African Media Leaders Forum, which was held for the first time in southern Africa. The Forum opened with a call to news organizations to give greater focus to development issues.

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Thebe Ikalafeng and Tarek Atia. Photo: Nancy Onyango/This Is Africa

Organised by the African Media Initiative, the Forum was formally opened by the President of Mauritius, Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. “Media owners and practitioners must be active, not passive in tackling development topics, generating local solutions while nurturing citizen engagement and development debate,” the President told the audience comprising experts in the fields of media, technology, development, and policy formulation. She extolled media to “become activists, not pacifists in the search for Africa-centric development solutions that are economically viable, socially relevant and environmentally benign”.

The event also featured speeches by Mr Jeff Radebe, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, South African Presidency; Dr Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Bineta Diop, Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security of the Chairperson of the African Union; and Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director, African Regional Office, Rockefeller Foundation.

In her remarks, Binets Diop called on media to “serve as a catalyst for change by shifting the narrative on women and bringing hidden stories into the light’. She added: “Africa contributes the highest number of female peace keepers, and women were at the forefront in the fight against Ebola. These and many more stories remain untold”.

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Jane Murago-Munene and Dr. Iqbal Surve. Photo: Nancy Onyango/This Is Africa

The Forum’s theme focused on the role of media in shaping development conversations in an increasingly digital environment. The two-day event particularly looked at ways of enhancing the quality of media content in order to influence governance, and build stronger, more economically viable and informed societies. It also unpacked digital technologies available for information gathering and dissemination of information.

Go here to listen to speeches.

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