Monday, November 09, 2009

African Media Leaders Meet in Lagos

African Media Leaders Meet in Lagos

Focus on Harnessing Power of New Technologies for Media Development

LAGOS, Nigeria, November 6, 2009 – Over 185 African media owners' participated in a two-day "African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF)" to discuss practical ways for strengthening Africa's media development and agreed on a charter for the African Media Initiative (AMI), a parent body that is working to improve the media sector across Africa.

 "Media have a central role to play in nurturing democracy on the African continent," said Nduka Obaigbena, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY, one of Africa's leading newspapers.  "The African Media Leaders Forum is committed to improving the business environment for media and to strengthening skills of African journalists. The Lagos meeting will serve as a launch pad for concerted, collective actions to promote African media development for the benefit of all."  Mr. Nduka is the founding chairman of the AMLF which held its first meeting in Dakar, Senegal, one year ago.

The AMLF is the single-largest annual gathering of media owners coming together to discuss development in Africa and the range of cutting-edge issues affecting Africa's media industries, just as the African continent is being buffeted by the global financial crisis, deepening recessionary trends, and the advent of new, social media technologies that are fundamentally altering existing media business models all across the globe.
"The African Media Leaders Forum is a nascent body with an ambitious agenda," said Amadou Mahtar Ba, Acting Executive Director of the African Media Initiative (AMI).  "By convening the Forum in Nigeria, Africa's most populous democracy, we are sending a message that the strengthening of mass media systems is an urgent imperative for societal advancement, and needs the support of governments, business leaders, and civil society."

Headlined speakers at the Lagos meeting represented a Who's Who of top print, broadcast, and online journalists, including Sam Amuka (Vanguard, Nigeria), Oh Yeon Ho (Ohmynews, South Korea), Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post), Charlayne Hunter-Gault (US National Public Radio), Ted Koppel (former anchor, ABC's Nightline news), Tumi Magkabo (of Tumi & Co, formerly with CNN), Trevor Ncube (South Africa's Mail & Guardian), Dele Olojede (Pulitzer Prize winner), and others.

"We have urgent business, and that business is development," said Trevor Ncube, Deputy Executive Chairman, Mail & Guardian, addressing his peers.  "Our role is to ensure that we participate in creating a marketplace of ideas and that media is perceived as an integral partner of the development process."


The Lagos meeting focused on six critical areas with a view to developing shared literacy of the issues, and spurring collective action:

  • Impact of new media technologies on the practice of journalism across Africa drawing on lessons of experience from other parts of the world;
  • Need for new business models that are necessary to grow and sustain Africa's media industries;
  • Finance for African media development including access to venture capital, mitigating political risk through innovative guarantee mechanisms, and creating capacity so that media industries have broader access to various sources of capital;
  • Lining mass media to the overall governance agenda in Africa and exploring ways in which the functioning of the fourth estate can be improved;
  • Monetizing  media content for the development agenda, and exploring the challenges and opportunities for creating a value-added, sustainable source of revenue, and
  • Positioning the African Media Initiative (parent body of the AMLF) as a broad-based partnership for improving the African media sector and landscape.  

An overarching objective of the Lagos meeting was to explore ways in which the voices of the vast majority of Africans can be better mobilized to create a new narrative that is centered on wealth creation, away from the stereotypical view that emphasizes problems and deficiencies at the expense of opportunity.  The AMLF participants, representing the continent's influential thinkers and doers, have a key role to play in transforming the one-dimensional image that shortchanges Africa into the more complex image that the continent deserves.

"New media are opening up new opportunities to expand the dialogue on the role of media in sustainable development across Africa," said Eric Chinje, Manager, Africa Region External Affairs, The World Bank.  "Now, more than ever before, is the time to create a new wealth narrative that can help improve the everyday lives of millions of Africans who yearn for economic opportunity, knowledge, and cultural expression."

In keeping with the times, the proceedings and discussions of the AMLF meeting in Lagos were tweeted, twittered, and broadcast live on social media websites including

The full proceedings, including the charter of the African Media Initiative, is available on

Media contact: Tendai Mhizha, AMLF Forum Director, +234 70 693 81691, +27 82 9001 204,

Additional Press Links:

No comments: