The Daily Nation
Thursday, March 6, 2003
Nairobi prepares to host top media event

Kenya will host a major international media meeting in June.

It will be the 52nd Congress of the International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and leading print and broadcasting journalists, and will be held over four days - June 1 to 4 - in Nairobi.

It will also be the third time for Nairobi to host the annual IPI event.

Speaking at the Congress's media launch yesterday, the IPI Kenya host committee announced it would be opened by President Mwai Kibaki.

Committee chairman Wilfred D. Kiboro said: "The congress will offer us an opportunity to interact with the world's leading media executives and global opinion shapers.

"Government officials, investors, policy makers and the tourism sector will be able to engage the world media and create a more positive understanding of our country," he said.

Mr Kiboro, who is also the Nation Media Group chief executive, added: "Poverty reduction and economic development in Africa will also be addressed."

Among the renowned speakers expected at the Congress are South African President Thabo Mbeki, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community worldwide.

Others are World Bank vice-president for Africa Calisto Madavo and former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros Ghali.

Mr Kiboro addressed the media at the Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi. He appealed to foreign journalists to help promote Kenya's image abroad, saying: "We cannot tell you what to report. What we ask for is fair, accurate and objective coverage. Tell the world that Africa is not just about disasters and calamities.

"Small issues are sometimes blown out of proportion and sustained in the headlines for so long that it borders on racism."

He added that the conference would be an ideal opportunity to show that there was more to Africa than just the cynicism and scepticism that have characterised the West's reporting of the continent.

The IPI holds annual congresses in member countries.

In the past five years, the meetings have been held in Moscow (1998), Taipei (1999), Boston (2000), New Delhi (2001) and Slovenia (2002).

The IPI was started in 1950 by 34 editors from 15 countries as an organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of journalism. It has members in more than 100 countries.