Participants at the third Africa Senior Media Dialogue (ASMD) have committed themselves to advancing the African Union’s Summit proposed Agenda 2063 as the AU flagship programme for Africa’s Development, promoting a safe environment for journalists and combatting the high level of impunity on the continent.
Discussions at the Dialogue, which took place on November 16 to 17, 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, centered on “The Role of Media in Africa’s Development, Women’s Empowerment and its Support for Agenda 2063”.
The participants resolved to identify and prioritize relevant capacity building programmes to strengthen the skills of journalists and to promote a safer environment for journalists through intensive advocacy on the three P programme of Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution.
They decided that no case of violence against journalists should be left unaddressed and agreed to combat relentlessly the present unacceptably level of impunity plaguing the African continent and deterring aspiring young people from embracing the profession.
The participants also resolved to publish and package sellable stories on women’s achievements and provide more editorial space for women voices.
They plan to take actions that will enhance a conducive atmosphere for journalism practice and media development in Africa by ensuring the implementation of the commitments agreed upon within the next two years which include: engaging in a structured and committed partnership with the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa to encourage the exchange of information and to ensure regular communication with the United Nations System and the African Union; promoting Agenda 2063 and its motto “The Africa we want” as a common pact; and developing an open knowledge and content sharing platform between journalists in Africa.
Also part of the commitments is to promote a more positive narrative on the continent by encouraging, without departing from a rigorous professional approach, a balanced reporting on the good side of news which can be coined by “solution journalism” or “development journalism”; endorse, circulate and popularize the Addis Ababa Declaration to media and the population at large using the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) platform; evaluate mid-term, namely after 12 months from signature, the progress made on the commitments and submit individually for each signatory, a short report on achievements and challenges to be discussed in the next edition of the Dialogue.
At the end of the discussion, ASMD participants agreed to:
- Accelerate the implementation of the recommendations of the first two editions of the ASMD, which are encompassed in “The Vaal Consensus” (South Africa, 2009) and The Maseru Declaration” (Lesotho, 2011).
- Establish Agenda 2063 as the Africa Union’s flagship programme for Africa’s Development as decided by the African Heads of States in January 2015 during the African Union’s Summit in Addis Ababa.
- Reaffirm the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and access to information and the pivotal role that women play in Africa’s development.
- Address the need for women empowerment which is often hampered by societal norms and behaviours through continuous sensitization campaigns, education programmes and other awareness building activities.
- Raise concerns on the current low level of safety of journalists and unacceptable level of impunity across African countries.
- Position itself as watchdogs of democracy and good governance in Africa in the social, political, economic and administrative fields.
- Collectively change and own the narrative on the continent while remaining a critical and impartial observer of the society it belongs to.
Address insufficient reporting by journalists on African issues, including those affecting close neighbours.