Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:43 am Post subject: PAN-AFRICA MEDIA CONFERENCE 2010
Message from PAMC Co-Convener
I am pleased to invite you to attend the 2010 Pan African Media Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference with the theme, Media and the African Promise is a collaboration of the Africa Media Initiative and the Nation Media Group and will reflect on the African media’s past, present and prospects for the future against the challenges of a dynamic globalized environment. The conference has been organized to commemorate Nation Media Group’s 50th Anniversary since the first copy of the Daily Nation rolled off the press.
This conference will draw attendance from leading media professionals from all over the African continent, speakers representing industry and policy development, as well as academic scholars and thinkers from the global media arena. The forum will encourage contribution and development of robust policy related to the operation and development of media in Africa.
Participants will explore issues ranging from the advent of citizen journalism where audiences generate and publish news using popular online platforms and new media such as SMS, MMS, MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, to the role of media and civil society in solving Africa’s challenges, to governance democracy and other perspectives, to the emergence of a global media culture, to reporting change and crisis in Africa, and saving the African environment among others.
We have a great line-up of speakers including:
•H.H The Aga Khan
•Prof. Wangari Maathai
•Mr. Jean Ping
•Prof. Guy Berger
•Dr. Mo Ibrahim
•Prof. Ngugi Wa Thiongo
•Mr. Pierre Barrot
•Prof. Kwame Kaari Kari
•H.E Thabo Mbeki
•Mr. David Dadge
I am looking forward to meeting you in Nairobi in March 2010 at what promises to be a most stimulating and enjoyable media event on the African continent.
Warm Warm Regards,
Nigeria missing on 2010 Pan African Media confab list
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 01:10 Daniel Obi with Agency report
…Despite vibrant media
Is Nigeria’s reputation, even among African countries, still sliding? Or what exactly would make organisers of the 2010 Pan African Media Conference sideline the Nigerian government and private sector media officials among the great line up of speakers that include African presidents, ex-presidents and notable international media experts, at the convention scheduled for Kenya next month?
Nigeria, undoubtedly, has one of the most vibrant media in the world that any conference organiser, especially on the African continent, could tap into; but a scan of the great line-up of speakers clearly indicated the absence of Nigerian government officials and media experts.
Already, Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former president of Mozambique, and John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, have confirmed their presence at the inaugural conference which would be used to mark the 50th anniversary of Kenyan Media Group.
Other speakers include Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim, Sudanese-born British mobile communications entrepreneur, Hussein Amin, former chair of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo, Achim Steiner, acting on the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The UN General Assembly unanimously elected Steiner as the Executive Director of UNEP on March 16, 2006 for a four-year term, effective June 15, 2006.
Also to attend are Ali Mufuruki, current Lead chief executive officer of the Tanzania CEOs’ Roundtable, Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, Kwame Karikari, executive director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), and David Dadge, director of the International Press Institute(IPI).
The convention will also bring together renowned media, academicians and business executives from the United States of America, South Africa, Ghana and France.
The conference, themed ‘Media and the African Promise,’ is a collaboration of the Africa Media Initiative and the Nation Media Group (NMG) and will reflect on the African media’s past, present and prospects for the future against the challenges of a dynamic globalised environment, according to Linus Gitahi, the chief executive officer of NMG. Gitahi added: “The forum will encourage contribution and development of robust policy related to the operation and development of media in Africa.”
Aga Khan, the main proprietor of NMG under the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, is to be the guest of honour and is expected to launch a book branded; Birth of a Nation: The story of a newspaper in Kenya. Media awards to honour outstanding contributors to Africa’s media are also planned for the conference slated for March 18-19, 2010.
Nation Media Group, the largest news organisation in East and Central Africa, has laid out an elaborate plan to celebrate its 50th birthday, including an international media conference this week. Photo/STEPHEN MUDIARI
By DAVE OPIYO
Posted Saturday, March 13 2010 at 21:00
•World scholars and media professionals all set for NMG’s Golden Jubilee
The Nation Media Group will begin a series of activities on Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of what has become the largest media group in East and Central Africa.
The centrepiece of the Golden Jubilee is the Pan African Media Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
President Kibaki will officially open the event that is expected to bring together more than 1,000 people, including media professionals and scholars, under the theme Media and the African Promise.
The gathering, held in collaboration with the African Media Initiative, will present participants with the opportunity to reflect on the history of the media in Africa as well as on its present and future prospects.
Participants will explore issues such as the advent of citizen journalism where audiences generate and publish information using popular online platforms and new media such as SMS, MMS, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.
They will also discuss the role of media and civil society in confronting Africa’s challenges in governance and democracy, the emergence of a global media culture, reporting change and crisis in Africa, and saving the African environment.
One of the pre-conference events will be the presentation of reports on a proposed Africa-wide health reporting network at a reception at the Serena Hotel.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as well as former presidents Joachim Chissano (Mozambique), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa) and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) are expected to address the conference.
Nation Media Group founder the Aga Khan will speak on the birth and growth of the media house whose history is intertwined with that of the Kenyan nation and on his thoughts on modern journalism and the future of the media in Africa.
Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping, Kenyan Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, Mohamed Ibrahim, British mobile communications entrepreneur and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Unep executive director Achim Steiner and Dr Hussein Amin, former chair of the journalism school at the American University in Cairo, are among those expected to attend the media conference.
Founded in 1959 with the purchase of Taifa Leo, the newspaper organisation that was to become NMG is the leading multimedia house in the region with print, radio, television and electronic platforms.
In Kenya, Nation Newspapers Division publishes daily and weekend editions of Nation, the Kiswahili daily Taifa Leo, The East African, a regional weekly, and Business Daily. Nation Broadcasting Division runs NTV, Easy FM, QFM and NTV Uganda.
In Uganda, Monitor Publications Ltd, a subsidiary of NMG started in 1992, publishes the Daily Monitor and Sunday Monitor and runs FM radio station KFM 93.3.
Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL) in Tanzania publishes the Kiswahili newspapers Mwananchi and Mwana Spoti.
In September 2004, MCL launched an English daily The Citizen.
NMG’s Chief Executive Officer Linus Gitahi said the conference is meant to be the “most stimulating and enjoyable event on the African continent”.
He said it would offer an opportunity to reflect on the media’s future in an increasingly globalised environment.
The forum, he said in a statement published on the conference website www.panafricamedia2010kenya.com, would encourage lively discussions and “forward-thinking” contributions, which would lead to the development of robust African media policies.
It will encourage contribution to and development of robust policy related to the operation and development of media in Africa, said Mr Gitahi, who is also the conference’s co-convenor.
“The role of the media is critical to good governance and the solidarity of Africa. Let us engage to make Africa one of the best continents worldwide,” he added.
Diamond Trust Bank is the lead sponsor of the conference. Other sponsors are Kenya Airways, Kenya Data Network, Uchumi Quick Supplies and X and R Technologies.
NMG editorial director Joseph Odindo said that to mark the celebrations, the company had produced several publications to give readers an insight into the evolution of the group.
“We have prepared a 17-page pullout on the company to be inserted in Thursday’s paper, another glossy souvenir coffee table book and another book, Birth of a Nation, that tells the history of the Nation in Kenya,” he said.
“These publications capture great moments in the country and feature big stories that have been published in our outlets and the people who have made the work a success,” he said.
University students perusing their Daily Nation newspapers. Photo/FILE
By NATION Reporter
Posted Sunday, March 14 2010 at 22:30
When the Aga Khan decided to start a newspaper in Kenya 50 years ago, his vision was to print an independent and honest publication that would help nurture an emerging democracy.
It was 1960 and the wind of change was blowing across Africa, with many of its countries just breaking free from the shackles of colonialism.
Over the past 50 years, the history of the Kenyan nation is inextricably intertwined with that of the Nation Media Group, whose story starts with the acquisition of Kiswahili publication Taifa Leo in 1959.
The Sunday Nation was launched in March, 1960 and the Daily Nation followed in October the same year.
Thus, the Havard-educated Aga Khan started what would, in half a century, become the largest media house in East and Central Africa.
This week, NMG celebrates that success with the launch of a book, Birth of a Nation, authored by Gerry Loughran, an accomplished journalist who was an editor at Nation for 12 years and whose career took him to far-flung cities like Beirut and New York.
The 319 page-turner will be launched on Thursday as part of celebrations to mark the group’s diamond jubilee.
NMG will this week host a series of activities whose centrepiece is the Pan African Media Conference on Thursday and Friday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
President Kibaki will officially open the conference, expected to bring together more than 1,000 people, including media professionals and scholars, under the theme Media and the African Promise.
‘Nation’ founders would be shocked by its growth
The Nation Centre on Nairobi’s Kimathi Street. Photo/WILLIAM OERI
The Nation Centre on Nairobi’s Kimathi Street. Photo/WILLIAM OERI
By Nation Reporter
Posted Monday, March 15 2010 at 21:00
* From humble origins, NMG has spread to East Africa
A historical account of Nation Media Group’s first 50 years will be released this week at a landmark Pan-Africa Media Conference in Nairobi.
The meeting was organised to mark the anniversary.
Titled Birth of a Nation —The Story of a Newspaper in Kenya, the book was written by Gerard Loughran, who was among a small band of pioneers who launched the Sunday Nation and Daily Nation in 1960.
Mr Loughran, a Briton, remained closely associated with the newspapers in subsequent years and still contributes a weekly column to the Sunday Nation, Letter From London.
“Kenya has changed unimaginably over the past half-century,” he said, “so that digging into the past, interviewing old-stagers and recording their memories was like exploring a foreign country.
“I was lucky to talk to people like Michael Curtis, the first managing director but really the man who created the Nation, the bedrock of it all, and Charles Hayes, a former colonial officer who started the Kiswahili weekly, Taifa, then sold it to the Aga Khan.”
Turned into a daily, Taifa Leo became the first building block in a news edifice that was to grow over the years into the largest publishing empire in East and Central Africa.
“Seeing the Nation in Tanzania and Uganda as well as Kenya, newspapers and magazines galore, radio and television companies... all this would astound the class of 1960,” Mr Loughran said. “We were mostly young expatriates from Britain in our 20s working with very few trained Africans and trying to keep three tiny papers afloat.
“But we came with no predetermined attitudes, except that it was proper for a country to exist as an independent entity and that is what we pushed for from the beginning — early independence.”
Mr Loughran believes it was this clearly stated policy that earned the Nation the support of a growing African readership and which proved crucial to the group’s future editorial and commercial success.
“I always had in mind that I was telling two stories, or the story of two nations (country and newspaper). They were inextricably mixed. Whatever happened on the national scene was reflected in the newspaper and sometimes the paper changed and motivated developments in politics and life,” the writer said.
Birth of a Nation will be launched on Friday at the Carnivore.
By NATION Reporter and PPS
Posted Wednesday, March 17 2010 at 14:07
The Government is steadfast in supporting and facilitating development programmes aimed at benefiting and empowering Kenyans economically, President Mwai Kibaki has re-affirmed.
President Kibaki gave the assurance when he met and held discussions with The Aga Khan who paid a courtesy call at his Harambee House Office.
The President said the Government recognises and appreciates the substantial economic impact created by diverse programmes implemented in various parts of the country under the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
Appreciating the noble causes that the AKDN is spearheading, President Kibaki noted that development programmes in agriculture and tourism in the country contributed directly and indirectly towards improving the living conditions of the Kenyan people.
The Head of State noted that agriculture being the backbone of Kenya’s economy, the Government welcomed support extended to farmers by the AKDN through provision of credit and planting of drought resistant crops as well as imparting of vital skills such as water harvesting.
With regard to tourism, AKDN manages world class hotels in several parts of the country which have created employment for Kenyan professionals in the hospitality industry.
The Aga Khan also founded the Nation Media Group that is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this week. The highlight of the anniversary is the Pan African Media Conference that opens at Nairobi's Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Thursday.
In attendance were the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Moses Wetang'ula and Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura among other senior government officials.
On his part, The Aga Khan was accompanied by Dr Shafik Sachedina, the Director of Diplomatic Affairs (H.H. Aga Khan Secretariat), Mr Zul Abdul, President, Aga Khan Council for Kenya and Mr Aziz Bhakao, representative AKDN Kenya.
By EMMANUEL ONYANGO
Posted Thursday, March 18 2010 at 13:32
The Pan African Conference got underway on Thursday in Nairobi, attracting an attendance of media experts and political leaders in discussing the role of media in an African democracy.
Chief guest President Kibaki set the pace with an acknowledgement on “the advent of citizen journalism has become possible because of tools such as SMS, blogs and social networking websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Myspace.”
The President challenged the conference to examine how new media can be used to deepen democracy on the African continent, in fighting the vices of corruption and nepotism, and in addressing the environmental challenges Africa must deal with due to the effects of climate change.
Nation Media Group founder The Aga Khan announced plans to establish anew Graduate School of Media and Communications that will be based in East Africa.
The school, the first of its kind in the region, will have its first campus in Nairobi by next year and later be integrated in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Aga Khan University to be created in Arusha.
"I am pleased to tell you that The Aga Khan University is planning to establish a new Graduate School of Media and Communications, based in East Africa and dedicated to advancing the excellence of media performance and the strengthening of ethical media practices throughout the developing world," the Aga Khan said in his speech.
The proposed Graduate School of Media will offer a Masters Degree program, serving recent university graduates as well as media owners, managers, and mid-career journalists.
It will also offer continuing education classes and establish a special program in media management.
In addition, the new School will create a Forum on the Media Future, a place for conducting and disseminating research.
"This new School will also work on the cutting edge of media technology, embracing especially the new on-line world - its complications and its potentials. Here, as in other areas, Africa has the capacity to leap-frog into an advanced position in applying these new technologies. The rapid spread here of mobile phone technology supports this view - as do recent advances in broadband availability - including the new SEACOM undersea cable development," the Aga Khan said.
He at the same time reckoned that the quest for media freedom in Africa should not give license to the introduction of liberal media practices.
"Let me sound a word of caution. Freedom, in any area of human activity, does not mean the moral license to abuse that freedom. It would bea sad thing if the people of Africa in the name of freedom, were expected to welcome the worst of media practices, whether they are home-grown or imported."
"I am convinced that the best way for media, in Africa and elsewhere, to maintain their independence is to prove their indispensability," said the Aga Khan.
The conference is one of the key activities marking the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group.
Among those in the packed plenary hall at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre during the morning session were President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, ex-Presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Information and Communications minister Samuel Poghisio.
Aga Khan Announces New Graduate School of Media and Communications at Pan-Africa Media Conference in Nairobi
Please also see: Speech by His Highness the Aga Khan, Speech by His Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya and Photographs
Nairobi, Kenya: 18 March 2010 – His Highness the Aga Khan today announced the establishment of the Aga Khan University Graduate (AKU) School of Media and Communications. The School, whose initial campus will be situated in Nairobi, will aim to foster a critical mass of diverse, media leaders, enterprises and institutions distinguished by the highest standards of competence, ethics, professionalism and social responsibility. It is anticipated that the School will be formally launched in 2011, although some of its activities may begin later this year.
His Highness the Aga Khan delivering the Founder’s Address at the Pan Africa Media conference, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group.
The Aga Khan made the announcement as part of his address to the inaugural Pan-Africa Media Conference, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group. The two-day conference is being held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, and was officially opened by His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya.
Named for its flagship newspaper the Daily Nation, the Nation Media Group was established by the Aga Khan in 1960. Together with its Kiswahili counterpart Taifa Leo, the Nation provided an independent voice in the years leading up to Kenya’s independence. The Nation Group has since expanded from print into radio, television and digital media, and has spread its influence beyond Kenya’s borders. Today, it continues to be a leading voice in Kenya, as well as the broader East African region.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Daily Nation, Mawlana Hazar Imam announces a new journalism school to be situated in East Africa
Also see related coverage, photographs and speech at the AKDN website, and more information at the Pan-African Media Conference website.
Mawlana Hazar Imam delivering the Founder’s Address at the Pan-Africa Media conference, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte
Nairobi, 18 March 2010 — Mawlana Hazar Imam announced the establishment of a new Graduate School of Media and Communications today, which will be part of the Aga Khan University (AKU) in East Africa.
The University is undergoing a major expansion in the region, and the School will be an integral component of East Africa’s first regional university. AKU is establishing a new purpose-built principal campus in Arusha, Tanzania, with additional campuses in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
The School — whose initial campus will be situated in Nairobi — will aim to foster a critical mass of diverse, media leaders, enterprises and institutions distinguished by the highest standards of competence, ethics, professionalism and social responsibility. It is anticipated that the School will be formally launched in 2011, although some of its activities may begin later this year.
Hazar Imam made the announcement as part of his address at the inaugural Pan-Africa Media Conference, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group. The two-day conference is being held in Nairobi, and was officially opened by His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. Attendees include Their Excellencies President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique and the inaugural winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership in 2007, Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, Professor Wangari Maathai, Kenyan Environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, as well as a number of renowned media organisations and interested groups from across Africa.
Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya listen to a session on how Africa has been shaped by its image in the media, together with Ismaili Council for Kenya Vice-President Anwar Hajee. Photo: Aziz Islamshah
Named for its flagship newspaper the Daily Nation, the Nation Media Group was established by Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1960. Together with its Kiswahili counterpart Taifa Leo, the Nation provided a civic voice in the years leading up to Kenya’s independence. The Nation Group has since expanded from print into radio, television and digital media, and has spread its influence beyond Kenya’s borders. Today, it continues to be a leading voice in Kenya, as well as throughout the East African region.
Mawlana Hazar Imam arrived in Nairobi two days ago, and is accompanied by Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya.
His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya
His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda
His Excellency Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President of Kenya
Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya
His Excellency Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique
His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
Hon. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communication, Republic of Kenya
Ladies and gentlemen
I am genuinely pleased to join you at this conference - an event which looks back at a distinguished past, and ahead to a daunting future.
The presence at this conference of President Kibaki and many other government leaders, past and present, has immense importance for me personally and for the Nation Media Group. For there is no doubt that relations between governments and the media are central to the future of Africa, challenging and even exasperating as that experience at times may be.
In many respects, this has been a new challenge for Africa. Prior to independence there were no national media owners, no national newspapers, television or radio stations, no indigenous corps of trained journalists. Newly independent governments had to work with media which had no African antecedents, even as both political leaders and journalists wrestled with massive debates about capitalism, communism and non-alignment.
It was against this backdrop that I decided to create the first East African media group. I was 24, and had no background – whatsoever – in the media field. In Swahili, I was Kutia Mkono Gizani. Or as we say in English, “the blind leading the blind.”
I am tempted to reminisce at some length about those early days - our big dreams and the steps we took to achieve them. And I would be remiss if I did not take this moment to salute those who have devoted so much time and talent to the progress of the Nation Media Group - in those opening days and ever since.
What did we hope and predict for the Group 50 years ago? We certainly aspired for its transformation from a loss making infant enterprise to a profitable blue chip corporation, and then its transformation from a private venture into a public company - owned principally today by many thousands of local shareholders. We also worked to stay ahead on the technology front, determined not to burden Africa with outmoded production techniques.
What we may not have foreseen, is how the company would diversify and expand - into the whole of East Africa - into television and radio, and now onto the Internet - enabling us to connect our work intimately with the wider world.
But even as we look back with pride, we must also take this occasion to look forward.
As we do, our goal, I submit, should be a future in which Africa will be served by some of the greatest, most respected, media enterprises of the world - an Africa in which both Governments and the media respect and abide by their appropriate roles in your still young democracies.
What should those roles be? This question, too, has been with us from the very start. For we were also aware back then of a critical historical pattern: the fact that, in many places, much of the time, the transmission of news had been the work of advocates - organizations with agendas - political parties, special interest groups and governments.
News media that sought independence, generally speaking, had a difficult life. One of them was the now defunct British newspaper, the News Chronicle, edited by the late Michael Curtis, who later played such a central role in the Nation story. With him, we believed that the tradition of non-aligned newspapers was the most appropriate for Africa. We still believe that today.
It has not always been easy to explain this role - to share our understanding that independence from parties, or interest groups or governments should not and does not mean some sort of reflexive opposition to them. Not having a special agenda does not imply some counter-agenda. Being independent is not the same thing as being oppositional.
Truly independent media cannot be predictably partisan, narrowly politicized, nor superficially personalized. Journalistic shortcomings cannot be disguised behind political or partisan agendas. So the idea of “best practice” became a second NMG goal: to try to identify, educate, and harness the best media talent we could find.
Recent studies from the Freedom House organization report that media freedom is increasingly threatened globally. For every nation that moves forward in terms of press freedom, two nations are said to be slipping backward. Media freedom requires continuing vigilance.
But here let me sound a word of caution. Freedom, in any area of human activity, does not mean the moral license to abuse that freedom. It would be a sad thing if the people of Africa in the name of freedom, were expected to welcome the worst of media practices, whether they are home-grown or imported.
I am convinced that the best way for media, in Africa and elsewhere, to maintain their independence is to prove their indispensability.
This is not an easy task. Information flows more quickly, over longer distances at lower cost than ever before. But sometimes more information – in and of itself - can also mean more misinformation, more confusion, more manipulation, more superficial snapshots of events, lacking nuance, lacking context, or hiding agendas.
We talk a great deal - in Africa in particular - about protecting and improving our natural environment. Similarly, we should be increasingly vigilant about protecting and improving our media environment.
So let us take a closer look at what this could mean in practice for African media.
First, it should be, in my view, more African, taking the lead in addressing Africa - specific concerns intelligently and wisely.
As African media work to sustain African identity and culture, one of the issues we face is language. In Kenya, for example, Swahili readership has been shrinking compared to English readership, while in Tanzania, the opposite is true. How should public policy makers and the communication industry support traditional languages?
On another front, I think we must focus more on questions of media ownership. For as long as I can remember, the quality of African journalists has been topic number one. But I wonder if the principal issue is not rather about the aims and intentions of the owners of communications enterprises. What are their agendas - personal, religious, political, economic?
Crisis management is another issue where the industry must be better prepared. During times of crisis, how do African media leaders respond? We know the challenges - NMG experienced them during the Kenyan crisis two years ago - as did so many others -tribalism, gangsterism, disinformation, corruption and religious intolerance are horrible forces which the media in Africa must sometimes face.
Of course we also have seen - here and elsewhere - courageous, and even heroic, media efforts to respond to these crises and to point the way out. But can African media do more?
When there are strong and legitimate opportunities to give credit for positive African initiatives, is African media paying attention? So many countries where I work, for example, have dysfunctional constitutions - but in many African countries this problem is being wisely addressed. Do we recognize such efforts? In many African places, as well, intelligent regionalism is replacing narrow-minded nationalism, but I wonder if the media gives sufficient credit.
When independence came to most sub-Saharan African countries, nearly all professions were under-developed: law, medicine, education, nursing, public administration …. and journalism. In some professions remuneration was inadequate to attract the most talented. Today that is improving. In my view the time has come when a sometimes dysfunctional relationship born out of government inexperience or media shallowness can be replaced by a new level of constructive intellectual empathy. I am convinced that an improved relationship is now possible. No! It is essential – if African development is to progress at the pace African peoples need and want.
Spirited debate, intelligent inquiry, informed criticism, principled disagreement - these qualities must continue to characterize a healthy media sector. At the same time, advancing the cause of media responsibility, grounded in professional competence, is nothing less than a moral imperative.
But all of these aspirations must be rooted in better education.
I take up this topic today in my role as Chancellor of the Aga Khan University - an institution which is now 25 years old and based in eight countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Syria and Egypt. This University, which originally focused on health sciences and education, is now pursuing a widening array of subjects.
I am pleased to tell you that The Aga Khan University is planning to establish a new Graduate School of Media and Communications, based in East Africa and dedicated to advancing the excellence of media performance and the strengthening of ethical media practices throughout the developing world.
The School will be driven, above all, by an absolute commitment to quality.
It will have several components. It will offer a Masters Degree program, serving recent university graduates as well as media owners, managers, and mid-career journalists. It will also offer continuing education classes - short courses designed to enhance media skills and to nurture media values. It will establish a special program in media management - one of the first in the developing world - devoted to enhancing more robust media institutions. Journalistic independence, after all, depends on financial independence.
In addition, the new School will create a Forum on the Media Future, a place for conducting and disseminating cutting edge research that will help shape public communication in the decades ahead.
In all of these efforts, the School will be driven by an active public service agenda providing a resource for the media community throughout Africa - and in places beyond.
The School’s emphasis on the developing world will be reflected in its faculty and student body, as well its curriculum and research pursuits. We foresee, for example, a strong emphasis on using the case study method in our courses, as many law and business schools now do, drawing lessons from concrete historical examples. We intend to develop case studies which grow out of African media experiences, while also reflecting global best practices. These case studies will address recurrent media issues I have mentioned -such as crisis management, trivialization, incompetent analysis, and corruption.
This new School will also work on the cutting edge of media technology, embracing especially the new on-line world - its complications and its potentials. Here, as in other areas, Africa has the capacity to leap-frog into an advanced position in applying these new technologies. The rapid spread here of mobile phone technology supports this view - as do recent advances in broadband availability - including the new SEACOM undersea cable development.
A new campus hosting this program will be developed in Nairobi over the coming year. It will work closely, of course, not only with the Nation Media Group - but also with other local, continental and international media organizations.
Over the longer term, the Graduate School of Media and Communication will ally itself with another new project of the Aga Khan University - a Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to be created over the coming years in Arusha. In a world of growing complexity, journalists must increasingly understand the substantive, sophisticated dimensions of the fields on which they report - from medical and environmental sciences, to economic and financial disciplines, to legal and constitutional matters. And a new generation of African media entrepreneurs could well be born from programs which blend economic and media disciplines.
We hope and trust the new School will contribute to achieving the objectives I have discussed with you today, and I hope these reflections and opportunities of the African media future will be taken into account. May it be a future in which Africa will be served by some of the greatest most respected, media enterprises of the world.
By JOHN NGIRACHU
Posted Friday, March 19 2010 at 21:46
The Nation Media Group on Friday rewarded employees who have served the company for the longest time since its inception 50 years ago.
It rewarded those who have worked at NMG in Kenya for more than 20 years and those who have served in the Ugandan and Tanzanian branches for more than 10 years.
The cash awards were handed over at a colourful breakfast attended by NMG founder, His Highness the Aga Khan and members of the board.
The ceremony was part of ongoing celebrations to mark the company’s golden jubilee and each long-serving employee received Sh1,000 for every year they have helped transform NMG into the leading media house in East and Central Africa.
NMG’s oldest employee is the man who draws the Juha Kalulu cartoon strip in NMG’s first newspaper, the Kiswahili language Taifa Leo.
Edward Gitau, who has worked at NMG for 50 years, got a standing ovation when he rose to collect his cheque and a plaque that will doubtless take pride of place in his sitting room.
Kanani Noorbegum, the photo librarian, was also rewarded for her 39 years as was John Thairu Karuitha, a customer service executive with 37 years under his belt.
Golf correspondent Larry Ngala has been writing in the Daily Nation for 36 years while Joseph Nyaga Aduol, a customer service executive, has been at NMG for 34 years.
Anthony Kimani, an assistant systems administrator, has worked for 31 years while NTV correspondent Karim Rajan has ensured stories from the Coast get to the newsroom for the past 30 years.
IT man John Orwa (30 years) and messenger Felix Machuah (28 years) were also honoured. In a short speech to employees, the Aga Khan asked them to “keep true to the purpose of the institution, (which is) to serve the people of Africa.”
The Aga Khan founded NMG in 1960 at the age of 24, and it has grown into one of Kenya’s biggest and most respected organisations.
The Aga Khan said the company’s responsibilities were not only to its shareholders but, more importantly, to the people of Africa, most of whom he said wanted NMG to expand into their regions. “Every step has got to be as good as we know how to make it good,” he added.
Also recognised were directors who have served on the board for more than 15 years. These included Mr Gerry Wilkinson, Mr Francis Okello and current chairman Mr Wilfred Kiboro, who announced that NMG employees will each get 200 shares in recognition of their exemplary work.
The share offer will benefit all NMG staff across East Africa.
Nairobi talks kick off with calls for self-regulation PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 March 2010
AFRICAN Media has been challenged to improve and tighten its analytical skills as a way of contributing to development journalism, writes Dennis Itumbi for journalism.co.za.
Panelists in the opening session of the two-day conference dubbed Media and the African Promise further called for an urgent revival of what they described as a dysfunctional relationship between media and top African leadership.
Speakers during a Pan African Media Conference also want journalists to embrace responsible journalism as a means of self-regulation as opposed to freedom without checks.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Nation Media Group founder His Highness the Aga Khan agreed that whereas more room should be opened for discussion between media and African governments, journalists should exercise professionalism so as to safeguard gains, while advocating for more achievements.
"Media Freedom requires consistent vigilance, freedom does not mean abuse of the right of others, Africa should not allow the worst of media practices," the Aga Khan noted. Freedom does not mean a moral licence to abuse this freedom, responsible reportage is the best way to maintain the indispensability of the media.
He addded that the agenda of media owners should always be questioned, be it religious, ethnic or even political, in order to protect and preserve the environment of the media.
In a speech that set the pace for the conference, the Aga Khan reasoned that the dysfunctional relationship between media and governments has been advanced in the past by the slow growth of government and the shallowness of media, now that must be replaced by intellectual and more objective interaction.
Kibaki said: "At the end of the day, professionalism in the industry can only be achieved if the media stakeholders in general made it their issue to regulate the industry. Solutions must be found and the Government stands ready to negotiate.
"We appeal for closer engagement and partnership with the media. The media is best positioned to promote awareness, discourse and a lively conversation with the broad range of stakeholders in our region. The media should, therefore, take deliberate interest in our regions integration agenda."
Kibaki evoked amusement when he acknowledged the role of social networking sites, increased access to mobile phones and the internet that resonates well with our young population. "However even those of us born before the computer age, appreciate the contribution of these new avenues of communication. Indeed, the advent of citizen journalism has become possible because of tools such as SMS, blogs, and social networking websites such as Face book, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace."
In attendance were the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, Joacquim Chissano former President of Mozambique, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The conference is a collaboration of the Africa
media initiative and will reflect on the African
media’s past, present and future prospects
SPECIAL REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT DANIEL OOKO
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Senior media practitioners across the world are meeting in Nairobi on Thursday for a major continental media conference to discuss problems facing the industry.
The March 18-19 Pan Africa Media Conference, organized by the Nation Media Group brought together 1,000 delegates from Africa and the world.
The conference, with the theme "Media and the African Promise", is a collaboration of the Africa media initiative and will reflect on the African media’s past, present and future prospects.
In his opening remarks, the Nation Media Group founder His Highness the Aga Khan challenged the media to guard against partisan agendas and instead perform their roles effectively in nurturing young democracies in Africa.
In a paper "Media and the Africa promise – lessons learnt in the last 50 years of the Nation Media Group and Modern Journalism in Africa, and the voices that have been locked out and need to be heard", His Highness the Aga Khan said Africa has the capacity to utilize the new technologies for the good of the continent.
He asked the media to exercise the rights of expression without infringing on the rights of others and strive to give credit to Africa’s positive initiatives.
He announced plans to establish a Graduates Media School in Nairobi to offer continued learning and other advanced courses aimed at promoting ethical media practices.
Kenyan Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio urged the media to improve their analytical reporting as they effectively play the role of agenda setters in economic development.
While announcing the landing of the third under-sea fibre optic cable in Mombasa later this month, the minister urged the media to use new technologies to keep pace with the world communication advancements.
Poghisio said the media need to be guided by the principals of balanced reporting and always shun peddling rumours and unverified information that may in the long run infringe on their readers/ viewers rights to truthful information.
Earlier while officially opening the conference, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki reaffirmed the government’s commitment to upholding the freedom of media in order to create an open and information-empowered society.
President Kibaki asserted that the local media has enjoyed greater freedom for the past seven years than in any other time in history of the country.
He noted that the increased freedom has led to unprecedented increase in the number of media outlets in the country.
The president, however, cautioned that media must at all times be responsible and uphold key pillars of journalism, particularly tolerance and objectivity.
He urged players in the media industry to be guided by public good while executing their unique roles of informing, educating and entertaining the society because they hold the communication channels as custodians of the public good.
"In appreciation of the crucial role of the media here in Kenya, the Government has in the last seven years remained committed to the creation of an open society anchored on a free media," he said.
"The media has enjoyed greater freedom than at any other time in the history of our country.
"This has resulted in an unprecedented increase in the number of media outlets.
"For example in 1999 there were 16 radio stations mainly operated by the national broadcaster and 8 television stations.
"Today, we have 80 radio stations on air around the country and 19 television stations."
Kibaki noted that media has a duty to disseminate reliable information that would shape the society positively and help the public to make informed decisions.
"It is to this public that you owe the need to pass on information that will help shape societies of informed and responsible individuals capable of making rational decisions."
The forum will encourage contribution and development of robust policies related to the operation and development of media in Africa.
Former President Benjamin Mkapa has warned East Africa that the championed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by the European Union is another Berlin Conference for the scramble of Africa.
He said the fact that the EU is bracing for equality of trade agreements with the East African block, means that the European Union was seeking to weaken the EAC which is striving to strengthen itself economically.
Mr Mkapa was speaking here yesterday as a panellist during the Pan Africa Media Conference 2010 organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nation Media Group (NMG), themed “Media and the African Promise.”
Referring to the famous 1884 Berlin Conference, Mr Mkapa said: “If you fool me once, shame is on you, fool me twice shame is on me.”
He said Africans were taken for a ride during the Berlin Conference and that should serve as an important lesson to them when they negotiate trading partnerships with developed nations.
He said Africa should not be cajoled into EPA because there was no way underdogs could do fair business with developed nations.
He Africa will not emancipate itself from poverty and chains of colonialism until it chooses to reconsider its position in the world today through regional integration towards a United States of Africa.
“I am a realist optimist, now that regional blocks exist throughout Africa, the goal must now be to strengthen them towards a single African State,” he said.
Mr Mkapa said Africa must embrace self reliance and denounce charity while civil societies must hold accountable both the rulers and the society in order to be able to take Africa forward.
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are being negotiated by the European Commission on behalf of the European Union, with six groups of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Four of the groups are African countries. The two other groups are the Caribbean and the Pacific regions. EPA negotiations started in 2002 and were expected to be concluded by Dec 31, 2007.
According to EPA, ACP-EU trade relations are supposed to be based on arrangements that do not need waivers or derogations from the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Trade relations between the ACP and EU, under the Lome Conventions from 1975 up until now, have mostly been covered by waivers or derogations from WTO rules, but it is felt by the EU that the international economic order has changed and requires trade arrangements that comply with WTO rules.
Other eminent persons who participated in the debate included President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Kenya prime Minister, Raila Odinga and Nobel peace prize laureate Prof Wangari Maathai of Kenya.
Mr Mkapa remarks come only a month after the East African Community (EAC) was pressed to end a stalemate and give a clear timetable for signing a new trade deal with the EU.
Mr Timothy Clarke, the EU’s head of delegation in Tanzania, said EPA was initialled by EAC members Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in 2007, securing EU market access.
The deal was meant to be signed in July 2009, but the deadline passed due to a standoff over trade and development issues.
“The present stalemate needs to be broken and a realistic timetable put into place for signing the initialled agreement,” Clarke said adding:
“The status quo is not an option. Failure to move the EPA process forward at this stage... would in the (European) Commission’s view, be a major setback for the regional integration process.”
The EAC has a gross domestic product (GDP) of $73.3 billion and a population of close to 127 million. It has a customs union, and a common market is due to take effect in July.
Opening the conference earlier, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya challenged the participants to examine how new media, which he termed as citizen journalism, can be used to deepen democracy on the African continent, in fighting the vices of corruption and nepotism, and in addressing the environmental challenges Africa must deal with due to the effects of climate change.
“The advent of citizen journalism has become possible because of tools such as SMS, blogs and social networking websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Myspace,” he said.
Nation Media Group founder The Aga Khan announced plans to establish a new Graduate School of Media and Communications that will be based in East Africa.
The school, the first of its kind in the region, will have its first campus in Nairobi by next year and later be integrated in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Aga Khan University to be created in Arusha.
The proposed Graduate School of Media will offer a Masters Degree program, serving recent university graduates as well as media owners, managers, and mid-career journalists.
He said the new School would also work on the cutting edge of media technology, embracing especially the new on-line world - its complications and its potentials.
"Let me sound a word of caution. Freedom, in any area of human activity, does not mean the moral license to abuse that freedom. It would be a sad thing if the people of Africa in the name of freedom, were expected to welcome the worst of media practices, whether they are home-grown or imported,” he said adding:
“I am convinced that the best way for media, in Africa and elsewhere, to maintain their independence is to prove their indispensability.”
Among those in the packed plenary hall at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre during the morning session were President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, ex-Presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Information and Communications minister Samuel Poghisio.
Nation media group staff were treated to a sumptuous breakfast as Celebrations to mark 50 years continued. Long serving members of staff were also awarded at the function held at the KICC by His Highness the Aga Khan.
Foreword by His Highness the Aga Khan for the Daily Nation 50th Anniversary special supplement
18 March 2010
After 5 decades, the future depends on ability to adapt
By His Highness the Aga Khan
(Reprinted from a foreword to the Daily Nation 50th Anniversary special supplement)
Please also see: Related Material
As the Nation Media Group (NMG) marks its 50th anniversary, it would be too limiting to perceive this occasion as a mere milestone in a history of a media organization, no matter how successful. The Nation’s path has been closely entwined with the history of Kenya, East Africa, and the entire continent during a period filled with momentous developments.
NMG itself has undergone a remarkable transformation. From two struggling Kenyan newspapers, one Kiswahili and one English, half a century ago, the group has grown into the largest multi-media enterprise in East and Central Africa. At the same time, the organization has evolved from a small private company into a publicly-traded corporation, one of the largest on the Kenya stock exchange, with a majority of its shares owned by individual East African shareholders.
My own role in the Nation Media Group has also evolved considerably. Seven years ago I gave my personal shares in NMG to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) – the economic development arm of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The move not only gave NMG a new source of corporate strength but it also anchored the company in a broader development philosophy designed to bring excellence and best practices to societies in the developing world. It also allowed NMG to benefit from the Network’s significant experience in East Africa.
The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is neither a charitable foundation nor a vehicle for wealth generation. It is a for-profit, international development agency that, because of its institutional background and social conscience, invests in projects, which will make a positive contribution to the quality of life for those who are impacted by their activities.
The broader philosophy of the Aga Khan Development Network is founded on the premise that developing societies deserve the best and that settling for less, though often tempting, is an increasingly dangerous option. Our world is competitive: like other AKFED companies, the Nation Media Group must strive to meet world-class standards if it is to thrive and grow in the globalized world of the 21st century.
Our Network, I should also emphasize, is active in a broad range of development fields, from environmental, humanitarian and civil society projects to microfinance and infrastructure investments, to cultural, health-related and educational support. East Africa has been an important setting for our work in all of these arenas, including, most recently, major new initiatives in education.
For example, Kenya is the home of the first functioning Aga Khan Academy, located in Mombasa, and one of a network of 18 schools that will eventually provide world class primary and secondary education to talented students in 14 countries across three continents. I am pleased that East Africa will also host the continent’s first faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Aga Khan University (AKU) as well as the university’s new Graduate School of Media and Communication. It is my sincere hope that the school, which will be initially located in Nairobi and later extended to the new Arusha campus, will help Africa in particular and the developing world in general to develop an ever-stronger corps of owners, media managers, public-spirited professional journalists who will be able to adapt and excel in a rapidly changing media environment.
I believe that the media in general and the Nation Group in particular can play a central role in the shaping of the region and the continent in the years ahead, as part of the growing influence of civil society institutions in an increasingly pluralistic environment. Indeed Kofi Annan, arbitrator of the post-election reconciliation agreement in Kenya, acknowledged the Nation’s work in mobilising the forces of civil society in the cause of stability.
Anniversaries tend to lend themselves to reminiscing about the past— and, most appropriately, to saluting those who have been a part of that past, as I am pleased to join in doing. But commemorative occasions also present an excellent opportunity to look toward the future. NMG has had an impressive record of past achievement , dealing successfully over five decades with a wide variety of challenges and opportunities, and emerging as what some have called a journalistic “Mzee” of East Africa. But now, NMG’s future will depend on its continued ability to learn and to adapt, to attract leaders and employees of the highest quality, and, driven by an ethic of responsible service, maintain the confidence of its reading, viewing, advertising and shareholding constituents.
The group’s founder, His Highness the Aga Khan, told the Pan African Media Conference in Nairobi on Thursday that he started off in 1960 with the belief that newly-independent African nations would thrive well where there was an independent media. He holds the same belief for the future.
“News media that sought independence, generally speaking, had a difficult life,” said the Aga Khan.
Nation Media Group gives Shs25m to Bududa
“One of them was the now defunct British newspaper, the News Chronicle, edited by the late Michael Curtis who later played such a central role in the Nation story. With him, we believed that the tradition of non-aligned newspapers was the most appropriate for Africa. We still believe that today.”
No easy task
He sought to explain to those present—including Presidents Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and a host of delegates—the difficulty of preserving independence as he promised to stay the path.
“It has not always been easy to explain this role — to share our understanding that independence from parties, or interest groups or governments should not and does not mean some sort of reflexive opposition to them. Not having a special agenda does not imply some counter-agenda. Being independent is not the same as being oppositional,” he said.
“Truly independent media cannot be predictably partisan, narrowly politicised, nor superficially personalised. Journalistic shortcomings cannot be disguised behind political or partisan agendas. So, the idea of ‘best practice’ became a second NMG goal: to try to identify, educate and harness the best media talent we could find.”
The Aga Khan said media freedom is increasingly under threat globally.
“For every nation that moves forward in terms of press freedom, two nations are said to be slipping backward,” he said, adding: “But let me sound a word of caution. Freedom, in any area of human activity does not mean the moral licence to abuse that freedom.”
President Kibaki said Kenya was committed to media freedom and cited the increased outlets established in the last seven years.
Journalism school coming
A graduate school of media studies will be established to better train journalists across East Africa, His Highness the Aga Khan said.
The school, to be built in the next year, will help improve the quality of journalism, he said at the ongoing Pan African Media conference in Nairobi.
“I am pleased to tell you that the Aga Khan University is planning to establish a new Graduate School of Media and Communications based in East Africa and dedicated to advancing the excellence of media performance and strengthening of ethical media practices throughout the developing world. The school will be driven, above all, by an absolute commitment to quality,” he said.
“In a world of growing complexity, journalists must increasingly understand the substantive, sophisticated dimensions of the fields on which they report — from medical and environmental sciences, to economic and financial disciplines, to legal and constitutional matters. And a new generation of African media entrepreneurs could well be born from programmes which blend economic and media disciplines,” he said.
The conference had lively debates, with panels comprising top political and media personalities, discussing a range of topics.
Last edited by kmaherali on Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total
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