The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) will, on May 1, 2018, host the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Prof. David Kaye, at a regional conference on press freedom and media development to be held at Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
The conference will bring together the heads of MFWA’s national partner organisations and media experts from all the 16 countries in the sub-region. There will also be participants from a number of African countries with dire press freedom conditions including Uganda, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo who will share experiences with their West African counterparts.
Participants will discuss the current challenges to press freedom and media development in West Africa and share perspectives on the best approaches for addressing the challenges. The conference will also serve as a platform to commence discussions on an elaborate process for the development of a comprehensive media development strategy the region.
The UN Special Rapporteur will be one of the key speakers at the conference alongside the Board Chairman of the MFWA, Mr. Edetaen Ojo and the prominent Publisher and Editor of Nigeria-based PremiumTimes, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi; among others.
The conference is being hosted as a pre-event to this year’s global World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) event, which is being hosted by Ghana on May 2 and 3, 2018.
Apart from the regional convening, the MFWA will also be hosting a parallel session on the topic: “Promoting Journalists’ Safety and Countering Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in Africa” at the WPFD event. The session, which will be hosted in collaboration with Canada-based free expression organisation, IFEX, will feature key speakers from Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Dr. Congo and Namibia.
The MFWA will also be hosting digital rights advocates and activists at a reception to discuss the rising phenomenon of internet shutdowns by governments, especially during significant national events such as elections.
This year’s WPFD celebration is on the theme: “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and Rule of Law,” and will be highlighting the importance of the judiciary and justice mechanisms for promoting and protecting freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists.