The 1991 Declaration of Windhoek which established World Press Freedom Day on May 3 called for a “free, independent, pluralistic media worldwide, characterizing free press as essential to democracy and as a fundamental human right.’
As the world celebrates the 23rd World Press Freedom Day, many of the challenges cited in the Declaration of Windhoek; funding support for non-governmental media worldwide ‘that reflect the society as a whole and the different points of view within the communities they serve,’ as well as ‘the encouragement of positive changes taking place in Africa’ are yet to be achieved.
Today, coverage of the African continent constitutes only about 5.6 percent of international news produced by US news media.And according to a 2010 study about Foreign News and Public Opinion, this 5.6 percent offers for its audience little depth in the portrayal of the continent.
While the African continent is experiencing economic growth, democratic change and a massive social transformation, so-called news ‘out of Africa’ continues to be dominated by stories of war and disease. But emerging news from many African nations could become a tool for African empowerment, encouraging education, business, travel and investment in the continent.
Globally, not only are journalists killed, and free speech suppressed in some countries; there is decreasing support for the development of African media worldwide. Yet Africans in the diaspora need to help tell the continent’s story, beat its beat and dance to its tune. When this happens, that would be the real freedom of expression and the true freedom of the press.
This special event brings together local journalists, bloggers, professors and community leaders to discuss the impact of dispassionate news on African growth and development.
-Douglas Cosper, Journalism Development Consultant
-Jeanie Stokes, freelance journalist
-Papa Dia, president of the African Leadership Group
-Isabella Muturi-Sauve, publisher of Metro African
-Will Jones, former TV news personality, as moderator.
The event is designed to build links with the media and education community in Colorado and to expand opportunities for engagement and understanding.
For 9 years, Africa Agenda, a U.S. 501c (3) non-profit headquartered in Colorado, has acted as a catalyst and championed positive news coverage of the continent, and has organized over 100 events that have spotlighted Africa in Colorado, the U.S. and around the world.