Friday, February 18, 2005

West Africa Regional Workshop 2004 Report

Team report
Kwami Ahiabenu,II
Abui Akrobotu
Owoo Kwateboi
Thierry Amoussougbo

A- Introduction

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are revolutionizing a lot of fields including media. There is currently a drive towards new media where the power of new technologies are opening up and extending the frontiers of our media landscape.
From 1-2 June 2004, forty media people and journalists met for a two-day workshop, which took participants through various Information and Communication Technologies relevant for the media in the context of development. By the end of the workshop the participants had improved their capacity to apply new technologies in their jobs. More importantly they have started a journey as active participant in the new media landscape and started the initial process of forming an ICT4D media network.

B- Opening session

- Welcome remarks – Kwami Ahiabenu, II, President of Penplusbytes
- Purpose of seminar by Host country- Rayborn Bulley, GBC/Resource Persons (appendix one )
- Keynote address - Asamoah Boateng, Deputy Minister of Communications and Technologies, Ghana (appendix two)

The programme started with self-introduction of the participants. Then the facilitator announced to the participants the objectives of the workshop from the perspective of the resource persons, as stated below:

C- Objective

To provide knowledge-sharing platform for the media to understand key issues in the ICT
· Understand and review New Media
· Share common challenges on the use of technology in the newsroom and how to use it.
· Provide an opportunity for the media players to develop practical skills in using the technology
· How to enhance networking and knowledge sharing among media practitioners in the sub- region
· After reviewing these objectives, each participant was given an opportunity to share with the group their objectives in participating in this workshop.

D- The Workshop: Presentations

The workshop continued with participants given the opportunity to share with the group their expectations from participating in this workshop. These expectations have being summarized below:

How to Research
Ability to question ICT issues
Access more information
Dealing with ICT security
How to tackle challenges
Online journalism
Update knowledge
upgrade knowledge
How to use technology effectively
How to inform and educate listeners
check reliability of sources
Find new tools and technologies
How to search for information
Equip with new tools, communicate better, and have efficient means of research
New knowledge about the Internet communication
Update knowledge in ICT and learn about Internet research
How to access relevant information
How to create awareness about ICT and development
Find out about talents in ICT space and what they are doing in the area of ICT4D. This information can be used for news or features

Day 01

More on ICT4D terms, WSIS and Digital divide issues (appendix three)
Resource Person – Kwami Ahiabenu, II( President Penplusbytes) and Thierry Amoussougbo

From the newsroom to the Web Online Journalism. (appendix four)
Resource Person - Sammy Ato Afful, Choice FM, Ghana.

Clarification of concepts: ICT4D, Information, Knowledge, Digital opportunities
Introduction of AISI framework
From Millennium Developmental Goals to WSIS - Putting the media on the Centre stage(appendix five)

Resource Person: Thierry H. Amoussougbo, Regional Adviser Development Information Services Division,United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Media, Elections and Technology - providing space for participatory democracy(appendix six and seven)
Resource Persons Rayborn Bulley & J.S.T Abbosey

Day 02:

The Highway Africa News Agency – An Overview
Resource Person : Chris Kwabato, Director Highway Africa (appendix eight)

Overview of Knowledge Management, or Information Sharing from an African perspective (appendix nine)
Resource Person –Kwami Ahiabenu,II

Closing Session

Way Forward: Participants discuss various ways they can transfer skills from the workshop to their newsrooms

General Discussion: Building regional Media Networks
Facilitator: Kwami Ahiabenu,II

- independent group with clear agenda, common interest in ICT and Media and vision. This agenda and vision must be collectively be developed by network members
- commitment from members is key to success
- regular meetings
- provide support for members such as training, skills development and capacity building
- leadership to be provided by working group
- we should avoid reinventing the wheel by learning from strength and weakness of other existing network

Time Framework

The network must be developed within one month from 3rd June 2004

Key Things To Do

1. Develop a plan for the group

Leadership – temporary working group

1. Ebenezer Osei-Kofi- Business and Financial Times
2. Justine Senuvie- Public Agenda
3. Lydia Ofori Abakah – Ghana News Agency
4. Owoo Kwateboi – Evening News
5. Eric Osiakwan – Penplusbytes

Proposed Next Meeting
12th June 2004 at 2:00pm

· Regional Network ( Temporary Nodes)

· Cote d 'Ivoire
ü Theodore Kouadio,Fraternite Matin

· Ghana
ü Ebenezer Osei-Kofi- Business and Financial Times

· Nigeria
ü Segun Oruame, IT & Telecom Digest

The Way Forward

1. Each participant should write out a report and share with team at newsroom
2. Develop support mechanism such as group discussions
3. Work hand in hand with management to improve or introduce appropriate technologies in the newsroom

Day 03
There were presentations in line with the Eighth Annual West African Information and Communications Technologies event based on the theme:
“Building Public- Private Partnership and Creating Opportunities Through ICT”.
Two main presentations have been made during this day:
· Need of the private sector and the Academia to work in synergy to improve education in Africa by introducing ICT at all levels.
· Youth and ICT and ongoing discussions on Youth and Information Society with the support of ECA, presented by Leopold Armah.
VII- Quotes from Participants

Ayitey Raymond, Royal Technology

Knowledge about ICT will assist me in gathering news and information to feel the public
I think that an ICT media network would permit the media community to share ideas easily and transmit news to the public with transparency.
Naa Abeley, GBC TVP

ICT in my work will help me acquire more knowledge, easy access to information, research so will enable me come with more news (stories) within the shortest time. Fast feedback , save time and energy and money .

Media Network will enhance the production and broad dissemination of information.

Ebenezer Osei, Business Financial Times

ICT can improve productivity at my workplace by improving delivery, content management etc..

ICT4D media network can foster an inclusive information society in Africa.

John Kumadi, The standard (

ICT enables me to keep my information, preserve it and disseminate easily
Owoo Kwateboi, The Evening News

ICT can make my work very easy. It can help me to gather information and to process work easily. Delivery will be on time.

ICT4D Media Network will be useful, because multimedia and inclusive instrument will enable information delivery easier to information consumers. This can mainly lead for society development owning knowledge and information.
Noelline Okene Dsan, The Statesman

ICT will make my work easier and effective.

ICT4D is useful because it will help create an effective awareness in our society in ICT. Thus educate the public well as the media is the mouth mediator of the public.

Lydia Ofori Abakah,, Ghana News Agency

ICT being and will still a tool that enhances professionalism, would help make a difference in my work and job as a journalist. When I am well educated and trained in ICT, it would broaden my knowledge about world events, social, economic, political etc and I would be able to disseminate information and educate the general public.

Certainly an ICT4D media Network can help bring about an inclusive Information Society. In the sense that, when the media is brought together and is well informed and educated, it can in turn educate the public effectively about ICT and its opportunities.

ICT as I have learnt is a tool in managing work and creating better form of presentation to the listeners. It is a way of packaging your item best for the consumer.

The media now can depend on ICT and there is the need for the society to develop a scene to ask for more information related to ICT
ICT can make a difference in my work by helping me get to more audiences i.e. giving me a wider coverage. Also it can help me to get easy access to more information from other media houses or websites. It will speed up my work since I can communicate with others easily. It is quick, fast and convenient.

ICT4D Network can bring about an inclusive information society— bridging the digital gap and reaching out to everybody. i.e. the rich, e-poor, the elite or everybody.

We will get more information and get it to everybody through the media__ example the radio which is a powerful tool.

Esther Lartey, The Heritage

ICT enables me to make researches to produce an accurate report:
- Speed up my work on information gathering by communicating with others through the Internet
- It can also help me to get more audience by publishing my articles on the Internet which in turn attracts larger audience and readership

ICT4D media network can help by creating awareness in the general public towards development.

Christian Agubretu, Ghana News Agency

ICT can do a lot; it will make you faster, speed up coverage, increase readership.

ICT4D media network can generate wider and efficient news coverage. Its efficiency and effectiveness will depend on its operation and management.

Emmanuel Tandoh, Daily Graphic

The knowledge in ICT will help me to save time and money to bring development and information to the public.

ICT4D will be useful by educating more journalists who will in turn educate the public.
Abui Akrobotu, Ghana Television News (GBC)

By using Internet as a research tool, I can access a wide range of information to enhance my work. I can also manage time ffectively by using ICT which impacts positively on society.

ICT4D Media Network can only be possible with the right information for the society development. It must also be geared towards the society’s well being

David Agbesi A., Ghanaian Times

Knowledge about ICT will assist me in gathering news and information to feel the public

ICT4 Media Network need to promote journalists capacity building
Fred Sarpong, Channel R

ICT can help me transmit my stories access to information in other countries and also help relay information to others;

ICT4D Media network can be done when all journalists are equip with ICT knowledge. The network need to build their capacity.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Learning how to report on the Information Society

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Learning how to report on the information society
By Remmy Nweke ACCRA-

Twenty West African journalists have received intensive training on how to report on the information society in a three day course ahead of the African regional preparatory meeting for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).A number of non governmental organisations collaborated to provide a workshop entitled “Reporting the Information Society” at the International Press Centre in Accra.

Welcoming participants at the workshop, Kwami Ahiabenu, president of PenPlusBytes, said his Accra based organisation seeks to empower media professionals through the use of ICT tools in advancing the work of journalism.Ahiabenu also said PenPlusBytes activities involved knowledge sharing among journalists interested in leveraging the use of ICT in advancing their work and society.He guided them through common ICT terminology such as internet governance, information society, digital divide, the internet media and ICT convergence, saying the training would place participants in a better position to create a greater understanding of Information Society issues.

Desiree Miloshevic of Afilias, a global registry service, led a discussion on internet domain names, the domain market place and the current status of African country code top level domain names (ccTLDs).While Steven Lang, editor of the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA), made a presentation on the aims and objectives of the agency. He explained how HANA has been covering WSIS prepcoms, the first summit meeting in Geneva in 2003 as well as other ICT related events.Sunday Folayan, managing director of Nigerian internet service provider, Skannet gave a talk on “Africa and the issue of access”. Kieran Baker and Anne-Rachel Inne from the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) explained the role of their organisation in terms of internet governance and outreach programs. Mouhamet Diop, a Senegalese businessman who is also an ICANN director, made a presentation on ”What is AfriNIC (the African regional internet registry) and Internet Protocol version 6”.

Journalists participating in the workshop came from Ghana, Mali, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire. They were pleased with the content and the standard of discussions in the course.Charity Binka, assistant chief editor at Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), said that it is important for journalists to know about developments in the field of information technology.“Although, we are quite few as women and being part of providing information, but I believe no one is going to give us that on a platter of gold. We need to be able to build our capacity, position ourselves as journalists. It does not matter if you’re a man or woman. We must be able to manage our time and position ourselves to the position we want,” she said, emphasising the importance of learning about ICTs and how they can be efficiently used in the information society.

John Awe, Lagos bureau chief of the Nigerian Tribune, and Segun Oruame editor of ITEdge, agreed with her and described the training as useful and good for the media development in the region.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
WSIS Africa regional conference opens today
By Angella Nabwowe -HANA, ACCRA-

Ghanaian President John Kufuor is today expected to officially open the Africa Regional World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) preparatory meeting at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), Ghana.The meeting precedes the second phase of the WSIS to be held in Tunis, Tunisia in November, 2005.
The theme for the three-day conference (February 2-4, 2005) is, “Access: Africa’s key to an inclusive information society.”About 1000 delegates, including the secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Yoshio Utsumi, Rwanda's president Paul Kagame, the president of the 2nd phase of the WSIS preparatory meetings, Janis Karklins and the prime minister of Tunisia, Mouhamed Ghounnushi are expected to attend.

Parallel workshops feeding into the main conference discussions about policies and regulatory interventions will take place simultaneously at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence and the British Council offices in Accra.
The conference, which started with a series of pre-conference workshops on January 28, seeks to review progress achieved in implementing the Plan of Action adopted at the first phase of the WSIS in Geneva, Switzerland in December 2003. It will also debate methods of financing information and communication technologies in Africa and various aspects of internet governance.
Delegates are expected to come up with concrete solutions and recommendations aimed at reducing poverty, broadening access to health care, education and to bridge the technology gap between Africa and the developed nations. The key issue here is to understand the powerful potential of ICTs in promoting socio-economic development. A major platform, dubbed the “Information Communication Technology for Development” (ICT4-D) has been put in place to showcase ICTs by representatives of local and international businesses, governments and United Nations agencies.
The media was identified as a key role player early in the WSIS process. Many local and foreign journalists are expected to ensure that the meeting of African ICT experts receives wide coverage.Two innovative news organisations, Simbani Radio News Agency and the Highway Africa News Agency (HANA) are reporting daily on the conference. Simbani produces radio current affairs programmes throughout the day, while HANA is distributing news articles and photographs to online subscribers throughout the continent.
The conference is organised by the Ghana Ministry of Information and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), in partnership with over 50 national and international sponsors.

Welcome to Penplusbytes

Penplusbytes - Empowering the Media through ICTs

International Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Journalism (Penplusbytes) is a registered Ghanaian company limited by guarantee since 18th July 2001.
Penplusbytes seeks to empower the media through the use of ICTs to advance the work of journalism. It consists of a network of media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs effectively to advance the course of journalism.

Penplusbytes aims to:

1. Help journalists to understand and explore the use of ICTs in the Newsroom
2. Capacity building for the media to generate ICTs stories.
3. Conducting research into ICT use by the media
4. Publishing articles and publications on the Information society and issues affecting the media
5. Advocating for media rights in the Information society