Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Highway Africa begins next week

Over 500 delegates from across the continent are expected to gather at the 11th Highway Africa conference, in Grahamstown, from 9 to 12 September, says conference organiser Chris Kabwato.

This year's conference will look at issues relating to Internet governance, ICT policy and media for democracy affecting Africa and the globe.

The three-day conference will follow the theme of  "Quality and professionalism in Journalism and the media", with a focus on new media and technology.

Highway Africa is a partnership between Rhodes University (School of Journalism and Media Studies) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), with the support of other partners, including Absa, MTN, Telkom, development agencies and sponsors.

The conference hopes to contribute to the fundamental transformation of how media uses technology in production and dissemination of news and information. To this end, the conference is a mixture of presentations, debates and hands-on training workshops  all related to Internet, mobile and satellite technology and the media, said Kwabato at the media briefing held last week at the Market Theatre, in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande, chief people officer at the SABC, said the conference will feature the sixth Highway Africa awards, which was initiated by the public broadcaster in order to recognise  innovative use of new media in Africa�.

According to a release, the awards will be given in three categories:

* Individual and non-profit category: recognition will be given to communications which find innovative ways to overcome the limitations of the existing African infrastructure;
* Corporate category: judges will be looking for creative adaptation of global technologies in an African media context; and
* Other broad criteria: the use of new media to benefit press freedom in Africa.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: The conference comes at a time when there is a lot of discussion around the Electronic Communications (EC) Act. Boardrooms are buzzing with business discussions on who to partner with to exploit this new space where content can be delivered on any platform at any time.

We believe the EC Act also opens spaces to engage on how we can make access to ICT for development a reality.�

The conference will be broadcast on various SABC radio and TV stations.


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