African Media owners are meeting in Accra to examine how they can harness and "monetise" the continent's growing youthful audiences heavily reliant on digital media channels as their sources of news, information and entertainment.The three-day Annual Media Conference (AMLC) on the theme "Learning from the Future: Africa's Media Map in 2009", would examine efforts by African media institutions to tap the youth market and the 'digital natives' and what they could learn from other parts of the world. It is jointly sponsored by Rhodes University's Sol Plaatjie Institute for Media leadership (SPI) and Konrad Adenaur Foundation (KAS).In a speech read for Vice President John Dramani Mahama, Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said African governments must soon learn that the media was a partner in governance and not an opponent and should allow the provision of appropriate legislation that would create avenue for freedom of expression and proper training for journalists to improve their professional standards on the continent. He said government would continue to create an enabling environment where journalists could report freely, critically and responsibly to support the goals of democracy, economic development and human rights. Media owners and publishers, he said, had a critical role in assisting society to face challenges such as political intolerance, election mal-practices, cyber fraud, women and child abuse, and charged them to dramatically redefine media business and journalism. Vice President Mahama enjoined the media to eschew irresponsible journalism and to be agents of development and progress rather than agents of conflict, retrogression and destruction. Mr Francis Mdlongwa, Director of Rhodes University's Sol Plaatjie Institute for Media leadership (SPI) said the conference was a sequel to the one organised last year that broadly examined how Africa's media was embracing new media platforms as a source of additional audience reach and revenue.He said the conference would also examine challenges facing long established newspaper, radio and television stations for survival in the face of the proliferation of digital media platforms. "Listeners, viewers and readers are increasingly agitating for their own specific news content at their own time and place, and using preferred media platforms. Today's media audiences are not just producing, selecting and customising their news and information content, but they are also essentially re-defining the role, identity and purpose of journalism and media companies, "he said.Mr Klaus Loetzer, KAS Country Representative, said the conference was launched in 2002 as a strategy for formulation, networking and sharing of ideas and experiences by African media practitioners.