Africa's second international media summit has opened in Nigeria. For VOA, Gilbert da Costa reports that the three-day event hopes to evolve a mechanism for addressing the widely perceived negative reporting of the continent by the international press.
Organizers say the summit will draw up a framework for Africa's image overhaul, based on far reaching strategies that tend to project Africa more positively to the global community.
Economic Community of West African States spokesperson Adrianne Diouf says the ultimate objective is to draw attention to happenings on the continent that hardly get a mention elsewhere.
"Our prime responsibility as African citizens is to do as much as we can to show the best of our world," she said. "It does not mean we should forget about the negative things, no. Reporting is reporting, the truth must be said."
"If there are wars, if there is famine, if there is corruption, it must be told and people must know it, so that the people who have to address it, take measures to address it. But on the other hand, we have positive stories, we have success stories," she continued.
Most Western news reports on Africa have been perceived on the continent as being stereotyped. Nigeria is leading the new campaign to re-brand Africa, with the recent launch of its Heart of Africa project.
The campaign aims to counter Nigeria's image abroad as a country blighted by corruption, violence, and poverty.
Analysts say, a critical drawback to telling the African story has been the lack of an indigenous African platform.
The chief executive of South Africa-based CNBC Africa, Trevor Ormerod, says the launch of his television network could forcefully project Africa in far greater depth.
He said, "CNBC Africa begins broadcasting the 1st of June from South Africa. We will be putting bureaus into Lagos, Abuja and Nairobi. And at a later stage, we will be expanding into DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo], Tanzania, and to other major African countries."
"And what we will be doing is, we will have bureau chiefs in these countries, passing positive business news back to us, and we can in turn, package and broadcast to the rest of the world from South Africa," he added.
The forum hopes to develop a watch group to monitor and create awareness of reporting on African images, and to manage this awareness in the international media.
The summit will also create awareness for balanced representation of Africa in the wider global community.
The Economic Community of West African States and the World Bank jointly convened the Abuja summit, which is being attended by international media professionals and government officials.