News / Africa

For Africa Media Leaders, Press Freedom Isn't Top Concern

Mourners carry the body of Somali journalist Mohamed Mohamud who was killed after being shot six times by gunmen, Oct. 27, 2013.
Mourners carry the body of Somali journalist Mohamed Mohamud who was killed after being shot six times by gunmen, Oct. 27, 2013.
Marthe van der Wolf
— African media leaders concluded a three-day conference in Ethiopia Friday, where press freedom was not on top of the conference agenda, even though many journalists on the continent face restrictions and repression.

Conference organizers said their core focus was on business development, technology innovation, and leadership and ethics. They believe discussions on the business side of media will automatically result in debates on press freedom.

Alison Bethel of the International Press Institute finds it worrisome that the African Media Leaders Forum did not prioritize the issue of press freedom.

“There needs to be more time dedicated to the issue," she said, "because besides from business models and licensing and other things that are crucial to the media here, press freedom also is a very, very important part of doing business.”

There was a one-hour side event organized on the practices and challenges of press freedom in Africa. Journalists from different countries shared their experiences of being harassed, detained and threatened for trying to do their job.

The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the media leaders to address repression in Ethiopia, where the conference is being held. Last week, two Ethiopian journalists were detained for about six days without charges after reporting on local corruption. 

More than 75 media publications have been closed in Ethiopia in the past 20 years and seven journalists are currently imprisoned on charges of terrorism.

Amare Aregwi, managing editor of Ethiopia’s largest English newspaper, The Reporter, says his media colleagues on the continent can also play a role in improving press freedom in Ethiopia:

“They can advise you, share their experiences and train you in such things," Aregwi said. "Sometimes, you don’t find people or the government being ready to listen. On the other side also, some of the international media enjoy criticizing and ridiculing rather than helping.”

Twenty-eight journalists died on the African continent in 2012, with Somalia being the deadliest country. Twelve African countries have passed freedom of information bills, but they include countries such as Ethiopia and Uganda, which are regularly accused of cracking down on media practitioners.

The Doha Center for Media Freedom reported that more than 150 journalists from Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan have been forced into exile since 2008.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ike wilson from: frederick md
November 11, 2013 9:40 AM
Press freedom cannot and should not be underestimated when it comes to unearthing what ails Africa - rampant corruption that pervades every facet of government, and close-minded "leaders" and supervisors who do not realize keep their people in destitute status. Taking bribes at nearly every facet of government reduces living conditions for all.

When I tried to buy a light bulb in Liberia, the merchant tried 5 bulbs that did not work, the 6th worked. Did he throw the damaged bulb in the trash? No! He put it back on the shelf for an unsuspecting citizen to buy later. Are there commerce inspectors who will crack down on that kind of fraud, or will a bribe cause them to allow their fellow citizens to continue to be subjected to this kind of behavior? Just one example of thousands!


by: Anonymous
November 09, 2013 6:17 AM
The truth will appear soon i


by: Jacob Ndhlovu
November 08, 2013 12:46 PM
Core focus on business development, what about the plight of countless people who have lost their lives and liveliehoods in countries where justice has totally collapsed and the world looks on and is still looking on.

In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 09, 2013 2:41 AM
Could not agree more!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid