Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Agenda 2063: The Media’s role

By Kemo Cham
The media has a crucial role to play in ensuring that the African Union realizes its mega development plan contained in Agenda 2063, outgoing AU Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said over the week end.
Mrs Zuma challenged the African media to hold governments accountable by reporting on the implementation of the project which seeks to fulfill Africa’s longstanding dream of integration. She told a session with the African Editors Forum as part of the 27th Summit of AU Heads of States in Kigali, Rwanda, that the media can and should give voice to the powerless, bring to the forefront the problems faced by citizens, disseminate warnings about disasters and report on whether government lived up to its policies.
Zuma also said this would require that the media should be credible, responsible and responsive.

“We all agree that media and mass communications play an important role to inform, educate, and to influence public opinion,” she said. “Responsible journalism speaks truth to power and is therefore essential to democracy, to development and to transformation. The African media, in its great diversity, has a responsibility and an important role to play, to promote Pan Africanism and Africa’s Renaissance, as we seek to implement Agenda 2063, and to hold us accountable in the decisions we take and their implementation.”
The AU Summit, which was scheduled to conclude on Monday, was hosted at the Kigali International Convention Center. It was held on the team: ‘2016: African Year of Human Rights, with particular focus on the Rights of Women.’
The African Editors Forum and AU Commission Roundtable on Agenda 2063 was one of several sideline events organized in the Rwandan capital. The session was designed to enlist the media into helping meeting the goals of the AU in its renewed effort in achieving its long held dream of integration.
Among other things, the summit witnessed the launching of the African Common Passport, which is part of the elaborate plan of easing visa requirements for Africans traveling within the continent.
The chance of the continent achieving the Agenda 2063 goals largely depends on the media’s way of reporting, said Zuma. She spoke about the need to counter the one-sided narrative perpetuated by non-African media, which has weakened the continent’s ability to fully exploit its resources.
Media plays a critical role in shaping narratives, and therefore in socialization, she said, noting that the media should hold up a mirror to society and give the people a sense of what they looked like.
“This is a critical role, and as we look at the state of African media today, we should examine all these roles and how these evolved,” she said.
© Politico 19/07/16

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