Thursday, September 22, 2005
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Thursday, September 15, 2005
HIGH WAY AFRICA CONFERENCE STATEMENT
TO PrepCom 3 Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society
Reinforcing Journalism in the Information Society
September 14th, 2005 Grahamstown, South Africa
Highway Africa is an annual conference hosted in South Africa, bringing together journalists and new media practitioners from across the African continent. The conference aims to put African media into the centre of debates about ICTs and the Global Information Society. The 2005 conference, in Grahamstown 12-14 September 2005 focused on reinforcing journalism in the Information Society and was attended by three hundred African journalists.
Journalists working in Africa share the same commitment to professional standards and characteristics such as fairness and accuracy with critical thinking and working in the public interest, as journalists globally.
Journalism in Africa, as everywhere, is informed by context and thematic practice that reflects local issues. A desire for accelerated development informed by contextual values and knowledge are two factors that orientate journalism in Africa to being a medium to empower people to make informed decisions.
Believing that democracy is governance by discussion, African journalists embrace ICTs as an extension of media opportunities in the support of good governance and democracy.
WSIS – from statements to action
The conference regrets the limited reference to the media in the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. It calls upon all stakeholders participating in the WSIS process, primarily the States, to move from the promise of the Geneva Declaration of Principles to its universal implementation, in particular to put into practice their ‘commitment to the principles of freedom of the press and freedom of information, as well as those of the independence, pluralism and diversity of media, which are essential to the Information Society’ (para 55).
African journalists also expect from all WSIS stakeholders, active participation in the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action, including paragraph 24 related to Media. This involves acting to create conditions conducive to increasing the availability and effective mobilisation of the necessary resources to finance the implementation of this specific part of the Plan of Action. This is of crucial need for the rapid and full integration of African media into the Information Society and the international media landscape.
WSIS – Internet Governance
The Conference strongly regrets that there was no media representative on the Working Group on Internet Governance and calls upon WSIS to ensure that the media is included in all further discussions on Internet Governance.
Re-affirming Existing Statements
The Highway Africa Conference 2005 notes the widespread consensus and implementation of the following statements and highlights particular sentiments expressed in each of them.
The Windhoek Declaration on the Promotion of Free and Pluralistic African Press, 1991 and endorsed by all UNESCO member states in 1995 which promotes the role of the free, independent and pluralistic media in Africa.
The African Charter on Broadcasting adopted Windhoek 2001 and in the Bamako Declaration of WSIS May 28 2002, which calls for access to telephones, email, Internet and other telecommunications systems, including through the promotion of community-controlled information and communications technology centres.
Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa adopted by the African Unions Commission on Human and People’s Rights October 23 2002 Banjul, The Gambia which upholds the key role of the media and other means of communication in ensuring full respect for freedom of expression, in promoting the free flow of information and ideas, in assisting people to make informed decisions and in facilitating and strengthening democracy;
The Commission for Africa’s final report issued on 11 March 2005 in London, United Kingdom, which calls for the setting up of an African media development facility as a way of unlocking resources and expertise for a pluralistic and free media system, including new information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The Marrakech Declaration Adopted in Marrakech on November 24, 2004 which declares that,
Everyone, everywhere, should have the opportunity to participate in the Information Society and to take advantage of its benefits. Information and communication technologies as well as media, must be a fulcrum for equitable access to sustainable development. And,
The Internet and other new media forms should be afforded the same freedom of expression protections as traditional media.
The Conference further notes:
Rhodes University Chair of Media and Democracy
At Highway Africa 2005 a new Rhodes University Chair of Media and Democracy was announced - the
first such academic position in Africa. This initiative recognises the importance of media in the developing
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Highway Africa 2005 : Reinforcing journalism in the information society
12 - 15 September, Grahamstown, South Africa.
If you are interested in reading more about this year's HA
Highway Africa conference 2005 Programme
For full conference presentations visit
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
East African Regional Media Training Workshop
Date: 25th -26th June 2005
Venue: African Regional Centre for Computing (ARCC) Nairobi, Kenya
Program duration: Two days
Theme: The role of the Media in enabling the growth of the Information Society
Across the African continent more and more news outlets are using technology while others are vigorously generating ICT content. Though the process is somewhat slow and the African media has a long way to go before it becomes ICT centric, the future looks bright. In order to stimulate the use of ICT in the newsroom and develop the skills of the media in generating and publishing ICT content, the International Institute for Information and Communications Technologies – www.penplusbytes.net in close partnership with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) www.icann.org organized a two day workshop at Africa Regional Centre for Computing (ARCC) www.arcc.or.ke in Nairobi. The choice of ARCC as a venue is quite natural because it was the venue for the birth of the Internet in Kenya.
The workshop was attended by a group of 17 journalists drawn from the print, online and electronic media. The theme for the workshop was: “The Role of the Media in enabling the Growth of the Information Society”. Speaking at the beginning of the workshop, Kwami Ahiabenu II the president of PENPLUSBYTS said it was a great opportunity to undertake the East Africa Media workshop designed to reach out to journalists and media persons working in the ICT space and hope to organize similar workshop in the near future for East African region..
The workshop provided an opportunity for journalists to interact with key ICT players in the east African region and to generate stories that border on some of the issues discussed at the three day workshop.
Participants at the workshop expressed the need for more such meetings to encourage discussions among the African journalist both at the sub regional and continental level in order to give meaning to Africa drive for an Information Society.
Churchill Otieno, the Internet Editor of Nation Media Group said “the workshop was enlightening and hope a subsequent workshop would take a look at editing stories for online editors”
The workshop tackled achieved the following key objectives:
- Build on previous ICT and information society reporting workshops for the Media.
- Provided a knowledge sharing platform for the media to understand key issues in the Information Society.
- Provided journalist with a clear understanding a review of New Media and its impact in the newsroom
- Provided an opportunity for the participants to develop new practical skills in using technology
- Discussed Internet governance issues with specific reference to issues surrounding the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Domain Name System (DNS)
- Provided a space to enhance networking and knowledge sharing among media practitioners in the East African region
Eric Osiakwan, workshop resource person from Penplusbytes reiterated the need for participants work hard during this workshop in order to benefit from knowledge sharing and networking opportunity it provided.
Opening Ceremony for all participants:
- Welcome remarks
- Purpose of seminar by Host country
- Keynote addresses
- Self-Introduction and expectations by participants
Serves to introduce the course and updates participants with latest trends and development in key areas such as ICTs, Internet Governance, Information Society, digital divide, the Internet, media and ICTs Convergence. Special focus shall be placed on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT) by examining threats and challenges facing ICTs in context of development.
Online News Service and Newspaper Production Strategy and Task Allocation
General Internet overview including explanation of the Internet Governance term and organizations that are involved in running it; Description of Internet domain registries and the domain marketplace; Discussion of the current African ccTLD registry environment (AFTLD) and market opportunity.
Re-cap of Day 1 (clarification of concepts)
Knowledge Management for the Media: Do we really need it?
Group Discussion & Group Presentation
- Building East African countries specific Media Networks
- Workshop evaluation and report
The workshop was delivered using a combination of presentations, group discussions, brainstorming, course work and practical work.
1. Increased level of Information Society content in the mass media as an outcome of the workshop.
2. The formation of a network of Kenya Journalists working in the ICT space.
Name Title Address
1 Mark Matunga Programm Manager Microsoft Kenya
2 Bob Wekesa Freelance Kenya
3 Joseph Amolo Ass Editor All Africa Conference of Churches
4 Kenneth Duondi User Support Solid Strategy Africa, Kenya
5 Yusufl Ali Lakicha Econ/Business Reporter KTN TV, Kenya
6 Helina Megersa Editor in Chief The Daily Monitor, Ethiopia
7 Christine Odeke Production Asst. The Bigger Picture, Kenya
8 Ohito David Bureau Chief KTN & Standard Group, Kenya
9 Lillian Odera Snr Reporter KTN TV, Kenya
10 Solomon Luvai Director URTNA, Kenya
11 Churchill Otieno Internet Editor NATION
12 Mitch Odero Chairman Media Council of Kenya
13 Jackson Mwalulu Regional Editor, East Africa Africa Today
14 Dr. Shem Ochuodlo Chairman African Regional Centre of Computing
15 Edward Akoko Media KBC- METRO FM
16 Rebecca Wanjiku
17 Michael Ouma Omondi East African Business Week, Kenya
Kwami Ahiabenu, II- PenPlusBytes
Eric Osiakwan - PenPlusBytes
Dr. Shem Ochuodho
Nancy Sowho – ARCC
Plister Abidha – ARCC
Cliff Ochieng- ARCC
Kofi Mangesi – PenPlusBytes
Monday, September 05, 2005
National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting(NICAR)
Online Jornalism Review
Welcome to ojr.org, the Online Journalism Review, a Web-based journal produced at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.
As a journalism review based online, we are committed to covering the full range of journalistic issues in all media, but with a particular emphasis on the Internet. Since our March 1, 1998, launch, we have devoted most of our resources to evaluating the emerging field of online journalism, providing readers commentary, features and resources. Our purpose is to be useful both to journalists working online and to online writers who've not previously had anything more to do with journalism than reading or watching the news.
We believe that standards used in traditional media can and should be applied online. Journalism ethics, developed over centuries, help keep a line between commercial and editorial functions -- to help maintain a publication’s credibility and trustworthiness. An individual or organization that lacks veracity loses its role as a reliable truth teller, whether on the Web, in print or on the airwaves.
At the same time we also believe that traditional journalists can learn from online writers and publishers. Journalism must engage the communities it serves, soliciting information from readers while reporting it back to them. The Internet provides an unmatched forum to enable such interactivity and we welcome honest attempts to use it in the pursuit, and publication, of the truth.
Because the Annenberg School gives us an academic base a step removed from the travails of commercial Web sites, we believe we can explore issues with depth, vigor and impartiality -- and even irreverence. We don’t want to be bores or scolds.
Our role, then, is to apply standards. We want to identify who is best serving the public on the Web and who, hiding in the cloak of journalism, belongs in different garb. We want to support the truth tellers, label the entertainers and expose those who would let excess commercial interests sway their judgment. We analyze new technology and assess how it affects journalism -- who is using it best, who is perverting its intent. We survey the Internet on a daily basis and look for strengths and flaws. We will keep our findings in easily retrievable form for those who want to go beyond our efforts.
Highway Africa News Agency
Beginning in September 2003 with SDC support, Highway Africa has put together a pool of African journalists from different countries and enabled them to report on ICT and information society issues.
HANA has been the only consistent African media organisation tracking the WSIS debates and reporting on key events and their implications to a primarily African audience and beyond. HANA has generated over 250 stories that have been distributed via the 162 e-mail subscribers (individuals, organisations and networks), the website (http://www.highwayafrica.ru.ac.za) and via conference newspapers (Highway Africa, Accra WSIS Meeting).
HANA has successfully served as a platform for training journalists in understanding, using and reporting ICTs. A solid base for a dedicated ICT-dedicated news agency has been established.
In the last ten months HANA has covered the following events:
Africa Telecomms Summit, Cairo, May 2004
WSIS First Preparatory Committee Meeting, Hammamet, Tunisia, June 2004
Highway Africa Conference, Grahamstown, 15 – 18 September 2004
General Assembly of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers), December, 2004
WSIS Africa Regional Meeting, Accra, Ghana, 2-4 February 2005
WSIS Second Preparatory Committee Meeting, Geneva, 17 – 25 February 2005
ICANN Meeting, Luxembourg, July 2005