Tuesday, April 20, 2010


20/04/10   PPB003          For immediate release:


The African Elections Project was selected to be a part of 33 key projects out of 223 innovative projects submitted from around the globe and joined the rest of selected projects to participate in the World Bank Innovation Fair held in South Africa from the 12 – 15 of April with one of its partners International Institute for Sustainable Development.

The main theme for the occasion was "Innovation Fair: Moving beyond conflict" with a focus on two critical challenges of development in fragile states namely Communications for Governance and Service Delivery and Conflict and Violence Prevention. This initiative is directed towards uncovering a long lasting route to peace and security across the world by soliciting ideas from participating organizations. Selected participants came from over 40 countries which included India, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Yemen, DR Congo, Guinea-Bissau and Kenya.

This African Elections Project (AEP) was chosen for its work in the area of Communication for Governance and Service Delivery because of its innovative use of social media to develop capacity and monitor governance process prior to, during and after the elections. The project leverages the free, fair and unbiased media and the crucial role they play in elections such as providing impartial information thereby contributing to peace building during elections. .

Kwami Ahiabenu II, the representative for the African Elections Project opined that "the fair provided a platform for the exchange of ideas on how to replicate one project in a different context and how to improve ideas based on experience to reduce conflict conditions or the fear of a potential conflict.

The African Elections Project is aimed at developing the capacity of the media in ICTs in elections coverage while stimulating the provision of elections information and knowledge via its portal www.africanelections.org and other new media tools. African Elections Project has so far covered elections in Ghana, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Botswana, Togo, and Namibia with planned coverage of Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Guinea in the pipe line. The project is coordinated by the International Institute for ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) working hand in hand with key partners www.osisa.org and www.osiwa.org .


Jerry Sam, Project Manager,

Tel: 0264838097 , email: jerrysam@hotmail.com/ http://www.africanelections.org/

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Competition for Recognizing excellence in IT media and FOSS Reporting in Africa Award

The African FOSS Reporter Award

Recognizing excellence in IT media and FOSS Reporting in Africa

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has the potential to curtail some obstacles towards adoption and effective use of ICTs in Africa and to contribute to bridge the digital divide. However the potential contribution of philosophy, economy and software development model of FOSS to the issues facing Africa are often overlooked or under-represented by the media.

The African FOSS Reporter Award Competition 2010 aims to highlight the impact of FOSS on the development of Africa. We are searching for enthusiastic writers who want to demonstrate their journalistic abilities by examining these issues. The competition is run in partnership with Deutsche Welle and supported by OSIWA as part of an initiative to raise public awareness of such issues.

FOSSFA has issued a call for entries for the FOSS for Africa Journalism Award competition.

The award recognizes outstanding reporting for a general audience and honor individuals (rather than institutions, publishers or employers) for their coverage of FOSS.


Winning entries are articles that are valuable to their readers, show clarity in their communication and are significant in disclosing, explaining, interpreting and reporting the impact of FOSS on the development of Africa and recognizing newsworthiness.

The award is open to Africans living in Africa, authors of articles or broadcasts that have been published or aired in the last two years.


The winner and 2 runners-up will be announced and presented with their awards during a special awards ceremony at the 4th African conference on FOSS and the Digital Commons Idlelo - 4. Each Runner-up will receive a certificate and a full Idlelo Pass. The winner will receive a certificate, an Idlelo pass, and a cash prize.


Deadline for receipt of the awards entries is April 30th 2010.


Entries should be sent by email to mediajury@fossfa.net with a copy to fossway@fossfa.net Entry must include the name of reporter, present location, passport and contact details.

Judging Criteria
Subject Matter

Judges will score the subject matter out of 10; based on originality; importance; general interest and usefulness.


Judges will score the article for insight out of 10, based on accuracy; the value of the insights; the quality and relevance of the sources/opinions.

Writing Quality

Judges will score the articles for their writing quality out of 10, based on grammar; article flow; flair; readability and entertainment value.

Adaptation to the medium

Judges will score the articles for their writing quality out of 10, based on the capacity of the author to adapt the message to the medium.

The Jury

The Jury will be made up of:

The FOSSWAY Project Coordinator

One member from FOSSFA Secretariat

One FOSSFA executive

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa

The Deutsche Welle

One media expert

For more information

More information on FOSSWAY is available on http://www.fossway.fossfa.net

Information on FOSSFA is on http://www.fossfa.net

For more information on Idlelo click on http://www.idlelo.net

Information on OSIWA can be found on http://www.osiwa.org

Deutsche Welle has more information on http://www.dw-world.de
International Institute for ICT Journalism

Monday, April 19, 2010

GJA Launches 2009 Awards

The 2009 Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards competition was launched in Accra.Nine new awards have been introduced. The new categories bring to 38 the number of awards to be contested for.

The new awards include Small and Micro Scale Enterprises (SMEs), HIV and AIDS, Development Journalism for furthering MDGs, Crime and Court reporting and Hygiene and Sanitation.

The rest are the Best Report on Anti Corruption, Best Report on Education, Best Cartoonist and Democracy and Peace Building. All the awards except the Democracy and Peace Building will go to individual contestants.

The awards ceremony, scheduled for August 15, 2010, will be the 15th media awards competition of the association.

The already instituted awards are Radio, Television and Print, Investigative reporting, Photo-journalism, Sports, Art/Entertainment and Domestic Tourism, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Award for Business/Finance and Economic Reporting, Environment, Health, Parliamentary Reporting, Political Reporting, Disability,Telecommunications, ICT (on-line journalism) and the Columnist.

The rest are Best Lay-out and Designed Newspaper, Best Rural Radio Station, Human Rights and the Best Radio/Television Programme for the six main local languages in the country.

At a press briefing in Accra, the President of the GJA, Mr. Ransford Tetteh, said the awards competition was instituted to promote high journalistic standards, as well as motivate members who excelled in their work.

"The GJA constitution charges the association to promote high journalistic standards and reward excelling members. It is for this reason that the annual GJA awards were instituted," he said.

He explained that entries for the competition will be received in all categories except that of the Journalist of the Year.

Mr. Tetteh also indicated that the competition will include the participation of the public in the selection of contestants for some selected categories through a 'Predict to Win' draw, which will be announced later.

The Vice-President of the GJA, Mr. Affail Monney, encouraged all journalists to participate in the competition to win awards for their good works.

The competition requires interested journalists and media houses to submit three best stories to the Award Committee.

Closing date for entries is May, 17, 2010.

source : GBC

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UGANDA: Government Pushes Ahead With Repressive Media Law

KAMPALA, April 13, 2010 (CISA)-"The proposed media law is a monster. Publishers and journalists would have to apply annually for a licence, which could be revoked at will in the interests of national security, stability and unity, or if coverage was deemed to be economic sabotage." says Dr George Lugalambi, chair of a coalition fighting to preserve press freedom in Uganda.

Presiding over the system under the proposed Press and Journalist (Amendment) Bill 2010 would be a new Media Council, appointed by the Minister of Information and National Guidance. To obtain a licence, publishers would need to show "proof of existence of adequate technical facilities" and the social, cultural and economic values of the newspaper."

Journalists would have to prove they are qualified - a degree in journalism, or in another field but accompanied by a post graduate diploma in journalism or mass communications - plus a clean criminal record.

Professor Fredrick Jjuuko, a media law expert says such provisions violate the constitution.

"The constitution provides for freedom of expression and media and the presumption is that it also applies to evryonemeans for everybody. The new bill is making this freedom exclusive for those with university degrees which is unfair." says Jjuuko.

Lugalambi, who is also head of the Department of Mass Communication at Makerere University, says the Ugandan media is already burdened with repressive laws such as the one that makes it a crime to publish unfavourable information about government activities and public officials

"Criminalising these activities opens up the media to the partisan and subjective actions of people in power. For instance, we have been asking ourselves: Who defines and what constitutes prejudice to national security or injury to Uganda's relations with her neighbours or friendly countries? Lugambi poses.

"Won't any politician or government functionary with interests in a particular business decide that certain reporting and commentary about the activities of that business amount to economic sabotage?" He further asks.

Instead, Lugalambi's coalition - known as Article 29 after the section of Uganda's constitution that guarantees freedom of expression - calls on the government to support self-regulatory initiatives.

Uganda has more newspapers, radio and television stations than ever before, and the media have consistently exposed corruption, human rights abuses and impunity for top politicians.

The country boasted a vibrant independent press in the earlier years of President Yoweri Museveni - he assumed power in 1986 - but with growing opposition to his regime, those days could be drawing to a close, says Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative.

One example is the case of the host of the talk show "Spectrum," Kalundi Serumaga, who was taken off the air on Radio One on the orders of the Broadcasting Council. He was accused of abusing the president while appearing as a panellist on current affairs programme on WBS TV called "Kibazo on Friday."

Jjuuko says the absence of public accountability mechanisms in the Broadcasting Council has stifled the culture of openly discussing public affairs on radio.

"Who is the Broadcasting Council working for?" he asks. "I think they are bound to want to appease the appointing authority who in this case will be government."

But Princess Kabakumba Labwoni Matsiko, Uganda's minister for information, insists she will go ahead with the proposed bill.

"Freedoms go with responsibilities. Do you want a media that does not follow any rules? What we are proposing is to create a responsible media and Ugandans will have chance to contribute when it's finally tabled in parliament."

The minister told a pan-African media conference in Nairobi on March 19 that media freedom in Uganda has been abused and legislation is necessary to put it back on track.

"They write about everything. They draw cartoons of the president and sometimes pornography, like in the Red Pepper tabloid," Kabakumba says.

Media activists say the government wants to gain the power to deny, revoke or refuse to renew newspaper licenses at will and without recourse to the courts of law.
Article 29 has united various media organisations, including the Ugandan Journalists' Association in resisting further encroachment on media freedom.

From a business perspective, newspaper publishers also fear that the proposed amendments will hinder foreign investment into the publishing business: the annual registration introduces an element of uncertainty into any investment.

Currently, newspapers and magazines are required by law to register just once, at the General Post Office.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Thursday, April 08, 2010


At a recent meeting held by the board members of The International Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Journalism (PenPlusBytes), Dr. Kwabena Riverson was appointed as the new board chair for the Institute.

 Dr. Kwabena Riverson is an international research scientist with a leading research institute working as the team leader for the Enterprise & Institutional Repository and Digital Library Projects. Dr. Riverson, among his other roles, is currently working to forge international collaboration in Information Management Research projects. In addition to his chair at Penplusbytes, Dr. Riverson also sits on the Board of NTHC (USA) Ltd., and UIQ Services Ltd.

Dr. Riverson will be ably assisted by the other board members who are Ethan Zuckerman, USA ; Charity Binka, Ghana ;  Gregg Zachary, USA ;  Kwami Ahiabenu, Ghana ; Bryan Pearson, UK; Dan Gillmor, USA  and the secretary to the board is Andrew Kwesi Kafe, Ghana.

In accepting his new role as the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Riverson reiterated his commitment to ensure that "Penplusbytes achieve its vision of driving excellency in ICT journalism".

PenPlusBytes was established on the 18th July 2001 and over the nine years of its existence; the institution has grown into a large network of over 600 journalists in 35 countries across the globe. As a leader in developing ICT journalism and also to ensure its commitment to improve ICT journalism, Penpluspbytes undertakes both face-to-face and online training of journalist on cutting edge new media technologies and contemporary ICT issues. The organization also embarks on projects such as the African Elections Project (covered 10 elections in Africa), reporting Oil and Gas, Design Communication, New Media School, and other projects on governance and accountability issues.  



Monday, April 05, 2010


Archbishop Desmond Tutu is backing a new campaign which invites the UK electorate to give up their ballot papers to voters in
Afghanistan, Ghana and Bangladesh.
The new initiative – called 'GIVE YOUR VOTE' in the UK and USE A UK VOTE in Afghanistan Bangladesh and Ghana– will see
thousands of people in constituencies across the UK letting residents in countries affected by British government policies vote in their name.
The actor Keith Allen has already pledged to give his vote in his London constituency. Ready to use votes like Allen's is Atique Chowdhary a
coastal worker in Bangladesh, whose island was submerged because of rising sea-levels. Chowdhary says "I will be looking for the party that
has the best plans for dealing with climate change refugees".
Keith Allen says ""If capitalism knows no boundaries then neither do I."
The GIVE YOUR VOTE campaign will see:
The Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and other manifestos launched in Kabul, Dhaka and Accra.
• Local language campaign posters of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg being pasted on walls across the cities
• Questions on party policies from Britain's new overseas constituents passed to UK candidates via their own constituents.
• Afghan, Bangladeshi and Ghanaian voters in the British poll will vote by sending a text message on election day to a local number. A
registered UK voter will receive a message telling them how they can carry out that vote.
• In the three countries the campaign is called 'USE A UK VOTE' and will launch on 30th March following the collection of the first
set of UK vote pledges.
Desmond Tutu is backing the campaign. He said: "I support Give Your Vote because it is exciting, brave and emphasises our common
humanity. It is a radical call for a world where all human beings have an equal say in the politics that affect them."
Clementine James of the GIVE YOUR VOTE campaign said: "We can no longer think of our national politics as just national because they
affect so many around the world. Just as many people in Britain wanted a say in the US election, people in other countries want to have a say
on May 6th."
Warwick University Professor and Fellow at the Centre for Globalisation and Regionalisation – Jan Aart Scholte said "Give Your Vote'
challenges us to reinvent meaningful democracy for today's more global world. Let's give it a go."
Kojo Prah Annan in Accra, said "Instead of always being on the receiving end of decisions, I want to take my own voice to the UK
politicians that affect my country - I am very thankful to the British people for this."
Reza Kateb in Kabul said "I voted in the Afghan elections because I believe in democracy, but when did I elect the people who are making
decisions about my country from London?"
First-time voter Finlay Simpson, 19, a laborer from Kent will be giving his vote, he says "I feel like this is a powerful thing to do with my
UK voters can give their votes on www.giveyourvote.org
The campaign is being organised by the volunteer network Egality (www.egalitynow.org.)
For more information call:
Press team: +44 7768 553 982
"I have lived through apartheid in my country. In our struggle against injustice, we didn't fight for hand-outs. We fought for an equal voice
and for the power to make our own choices.
We are now facing a global apartheid, in which the richest dominate global decision-making, often to the detriment of the poorest.
Many of the problems we face in the world are interconnected. Pollution in one country becomes devastating floods in others, making millions
homeless. A banking crisis in one corner of the world quickly engulfs us all. Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will impact cities far away,
with repercussions that fracture our global community.
But who decides how we address these problems? Sidelined from the decisions are those who live on the frontlines of climate change, poverty
and war.
We need to rethink our politics for today's world. We must strive for a global democracy, in which not only the rich and the powerful have a
say, but which treats everyone, everywhere with dignity and respect.
I support Give Your Vote because it is exciting, brave and emphasises our common humanity. It is a radical call for a world where all human
beings have an equal say in the politics that affect them."
Launch in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana on 8th April 2010 as USE A UK VOTE
UK Election Day will be held in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana on 30th April 2010

International Institute for ICT Journalism