Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Recognising and Encouraging Excellence in Media Reportage will speed up Africa's Development - Edward Boateng

Full text speech.
It is a pleasure to welcome you once again to Durban, one of the venues for the 2010 World Cup and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities we have been blessed with on our continent. Last year, the event in Ghana was phenomenal and this year will even be better. I have been looking forward to this week since judging finished in May. I know it is going to be an exciting and life changing experience for some of you.
We are highly honored that key decision making executives from Multichoice, CNN and other media in Africa will be with us this week. Take advantage of the opportunity to network and make new friends. The encouragement from Multichoice and CNN, plus the valuable support of several dedicated African and international organizations to this event is a reflection of the importance that is placed on effective journalism which plays the number one role in good governance all over the world.
Out of 1665 entries, submitted by 836 entrants from 38 countries across Africa, you are here today being celebrated as one of the top 25 fine journalists on the continent of Africa for the Year 2008. That is a major achievement for which you should be proud of yourself.
Information is one of the most, if not, the most treasured service in our world today. It should therefore be an honor to us that we are the medium through information is made available to people about Africa and our countries.
Global Media Alliance, my company remains committed to the vision and ideals spelt out in the awards: Recognizing and encouraging Excellence in African journalism. I am happy to see new opportunities being opened, especially to finalists and winners of the awards. Many of them have used these opportunities to benefit their communities as well as themselves in different ways. It is a great joy to see winners becoming ambassadors to their colleagues and the entire continent in various ways.
Though journalists in several African countries have made significant strides since the start of these awards 14 years ago, there are still serious challenges. Several of our colleagues are in jail in places like Gambia, DRC, Ethiopia, Guinea and others. Their only crime is that, they were doing their job.
Even in places like my own country, Ghana, which receives good reviews for its media tolerance, I cannot count the number of times people call me to hurl insults and threats either at some of our journalists, media houses or myself.
Several African countries do not yet have a fully enabling regulatory environment and there is very little protection for the journalist. In addition, there several people who profess to be journalists who are allowing themselves to be used by politicians for tribal and political gain. But, you the good ones, must forge ahead with focus and pride, knowing that, what you do as journalists contribute a lot to national development while bringing happiness and a high sense of security to many people.
I was happy when President Barack Obama of the United States of America, in his address to Ghanaians and the African continent during his historic visit to Ghana last Saturday mentioned among others the independence of the press as one of the very important ingredients that gives life to development. I was very pleased and humbled when he mentioned one of your colleague finalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas as one of the young people fighting a worthy cause to push Africa forward.
Certainly, what you do is a force to reckon with, much more so in Africa, where a lot more needs to be done to help entrench good governance and democracy.
It is our responsibility as media practitioners, to ensure that, through our words, lenses and pictures we will raise the consciousness of our leaders to make sure that young African children do not go to bed hungry, that pregnant women have access to good medical care and that Africa’s resources are used for the benefit of its people.
As we enjoy our week in Durban, let us also resolve to continue to work harder in the fight for the economic development of our countries and continent for “Yes We Can PLAY a KEY ROLE IN INFLUENCING CHANGE.
Let us leave Durban on Sunday, with renewed energy and hope for together, we can help to reshape the destiny of our continent and countries. This week should be the beginning for all of you, FINALISTS, gathered here this evening, for YES WE CAN DO IT.
Finally, on behalf of all African media, journalists, our finalists and forward looking governments, please join me in extending a very big thank you to CNN and Multichoice for continuing with this initiative and turning it into one of the World’s premier journalistic events. As Mr. J. A. Kufuor, former President of Ghana said, no thank you can be enough.

Thank you, enjoy this week, and welcome.
Source:Global Media Alliance

No comments: