African editors to gather in Mali

2010-10-11 13:27

Johannesburg - The African Editor's Forum (Taef) is to examine how journalism standards become "scapegoats" for those wanting to muzzle the media, at an upcoming conference to be held in Mali.

"The intention is to broaden the debate around the standard and quality of journalism from the narrow confines of getting the facts right to also include whether media in Africa has the capacity to do holistic coverage of the intricacies of African life: from the development initiatives that are seeing economies grow, to its politics, cultures and the wars that ravage its soul," said outgoing Taef chairman Mathatha Tsedu in a statement on Monday.

One hundred and eighty senior African editors, editorial executives and media trainers from 36 countries were expected to gather for the conference on October 14 in Bamako, Mali.

The conference theme would be the "Media and the Challenge of Peace in Africa". It takes place in conjunction with the African Union's Peace and Security Commission and is also set to interrogate the impact of war on journalists.

African political leaders who had created "media-friendly environments" will also be honoured at the conference. These included former presidents Nelson Mandela of South Africa, John Kufuor of Ghana and Alpha Konare of Mali; past chairman of the AU commission, Thabo Mbeki; and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in her short term has already passed a Freedom of Information Act.

All five have were declared "friends of the media in Africa".

Four editors, three who were killed by suspected government agents in different countries and one who has been missing for over five years after being abducted by security agents in the Gambia, will be honoured and remembered.