2005-05-21 22:45:10

World media executives meet to bolster Africa's image

NAIROBI, May 21 (Xinhuanet) -- World media executives and political leaders are streaming in Nairobi ahead of a four-day International Press Institute (IPI) Summit to begin Sunday to discuss Africa's image problems and governance. The conference is to be addressed by key African political leaders and media luminaries, among them Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Kenya President Mwai Kibaki and Nobel literature Laureate Wole Soyinka. It will tackle modalities of improving the practice of journalism and safeguarding the freedom of the press in Africa and the world, organizers said. The Vienna-based IPI, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists will also discuss issues geared toward the promotion of development and will particularly aim to spur the entrenchment of the democratic culture. IPI Chairman Wilfred Kiboro said the summit has galvanized key sessions focusing on African topics include "Pluralism and Democracy -- The African Experience," "Africa's Development -- Attracting Investment," "Reporting on Africa," "Press Freedom Issues/Africa." The talks come as Africa's development challenges captures the global scene following the release of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Commission for Africa report, which advocates fair trading terms and doubling of aid to spur continental development. African leaders have complained that the stereotypes of the continent, beset with civil wars and bad governance over the ages, have made it impossible for the continent to benefit from slices of foreign direct investments from rich European and American firms. Among the speakers expected at the conference are the Aga Khan, spiritual leader and Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, who has devoted substantial resources to development projects in east Africa. Aga Khan owns the largest media conglomerate in east Africa, the Nation Media Group, which owns a series of electronic and print newspapers across the region, considered the most successful in east and central Africa. Wangari Maathai, Kenyan ecologist and 2004 Nobel peace laureate will also join Soyinka, the Nigerian writer, political activist who won the 1986 Nobel laureate in literature. Other speakers include Wiseman Nkuhlu, chairman of the New Partnership for Africa's Development Secretariat based in South Africa. This is the third time that the Vienna-based IPI, which has a rich history and an enviable record as a defender of press freedom and promoter of ethical journalism, will hold its annual general meeting in Kenya, and it's fifth on the African continent. Enditem