03.08.2006 General News

Ghana to host media summit

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Accra, Aug.3, GNA - Ghana would host the African International Media summit from September 18 to September 20 to discuss ways of re-branding Africa for a brighter future and enhanced development.

This is to help for the full endorsement of Africa as the new and emerging Continent in global community, Dr Messan Mawugbe, Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Media Analysis, said on Thursday. He said there had to be a conscious and determined effort to tackle the major factors contributing to the negative impressions of the Continent and to present it in a more positive light.

Dr Mawugbe was speaking at a press conference to give an insight into the summit that has the theme: "Re-branding Africa as Laudable Dialogue for a North-South Cooperation and Human Advancement in this 21st Century."

The Summit would be held every year for five years with the first two to be hosted in Ghana by President John Agyekum Kufuor, who offered a new vision and bright future to Africa, he said.

Stakeholders in the media industry, government officials and observers from relevant international media organizations would attend the Summit to be sponsored by the African Communications Agency, the African Union and African Development Bank, among other sponsors. Dr Mawugbe said in spite of establishing a new Africa through initiatives like New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), many issues negatively affected the image of Africa, which were mostly portrayed by the international media.

He said though the Continent could not be divorced from issues like wars, fledgling democracies, health epidemics and environmental hazards, the media had a role to portray these in a proper light through adequate dissemination and management of information.

An analysis of stories from news agencies on Africa published in the Graphic and Ghanaian Times showed that out of the 543 stories published from May to July 2006; 13 per cent came from Ghana News Agency, 64 per cent from the BBC with the remaining 23 per cent from other agencies, he said.

Dr Erieka Bennett, Vice Chairperson of African Communications Agency, commended Ghana for her adherence to the rule of law and freedom of expression, saying that informed the decision to hold the first two summits in the country.

She said the media were the singular major organ that would guarantee that Africa's current rebirth and development efforts manifested into a positive image for the Continent.

Mrs Oboshie Sai Cofie, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, said the Government believed that freedom of expression and protection would ensure the re-branding of Africa as enshrined in the UN Charter.

Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diasporean Relations, urged the media to help in reporting developmental issues to change attitudes and the negative perception of the country.

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