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Media Dialogue, Turning the Page of Hate Media in Africa

Published on: 16-04-2014

Some 150 journalists, regional media leaders, heads of regional and African media organisations will converge in Kigali on the 17 and 18 April 2014 for a 2 day media dialogue organised by the African Media Initiative (AMI) in collaboration with the Media High Council Rwanda (MHC) and the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN).

The 2-day discussions will explore the theme, ‘Turning the Page of Hate Media in Africa’ and will offer the opportunity for the media community to debate and develop the necessary strategies to deal with the issues of hate media and the increasing levels of intolerance, discriminatory discourse, religious fundamentalism and cultural biases against certain communities on the continent. This reflection is taking place at a particularly important moment when Rwanda commemorates the 20th year of the genocide against Tusti – a very brutal and inhumane moment of our modern history.

“We are pleased to host this important event in Rwanda which also allows a number of local key media associations such as the Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA), the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and the Association of Rwandese Female Journalists (AFREM) to be part of this dialogue and help remember, renew and unite in the fight against any form of hate speech” said Peacemaker Mbungiramihgo, Executive Secretary of the MHC.

The event is also supported by a strong regional, continental and global representation with the presence of the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU), The African Editors Forum (TAEF), the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African Union (AU), the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
Aidan White, Executive Director of EJN believes that the event in Kigali will act as an important platform to create the necessary awareness among the media community about the dangers of unchecked hate speech. One of the key outcomes of the meeting is to "agree on a continental compact against hate speech to which media houses across the continent will be signatories”.

“AMI sees peace, stability and tolerance as cornerstones of a just and democratic society in which media have a crucial role to play” said Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO of AMI. In fact, over the last three years, AMI has been involved in a series of dialogues across the continent including most recently in Mali, Burundi and Ethiopia. According to Ba “ there is an urgency to take action against the rise of different forms of fundamentalism which can threaten the positive and encouraging stories about Africa”. “AMI is fully committed to the continental compact against hate speech and will use its wide network to make it a success" concluded Ba.

In the same vein, the Rwanda media fraternity through the facilitation of MHC and RBA will commemorate the journalists who were victims of the Rwandan genocide, which will involve a ‘Walk to Remember’ and a ‘Night Vigil’.

End

About AMI
The African Media Initiative is the continent’s largest umbrella association of African media owners, senior executives and other industry stakeholders. AMI’s mandate is to serve as a catalyst for strengthening African media by building the tools, knowledge resources and technical capacity for African media to play an effective public interest role in their societies. This mandate includes assisting with the development of professional standards, financial sustainability, technological adaptability and civic engagement.

Contact: Roukaya Kasenally, Director of Programmes and Knowledge Management, +254 707 156 151
(rkasenally@africanmediainitiative.org)

About MHC
The MHC is an independent institution “responsible for media capacity building”. According to the new MHC law (N º03/2013 of 08/02/2013), the Media High Council shall then be required to initiate and implement policies and strategies that will enable Rwanda’s media sector to get adapted to the world current media trends, and enhance the media’s role in national development.
Contact: Emmanuel Mugisha, Director MHC (emmanuel.mugisha@mhc.gov.rw), 0788449916

About EJN
The Ethical Journalism Network promotes ethics, good governance and independent regulation of media content. The EJN was formed in 2011 as a unifying professional campaign bringing together owners, editors and media staff to strengthen the craft of journalism. It works across all platforms and supports partnership at national and international level between media, journalism support groups and the public.

Contact: Aidan White, Executive Director (aidanpatrickwhite@gmail.com), 0044 9476291511

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