Daily Nation, Kenya
Sunday, May 22, 2005

All set for Nairobi media congress


Publication Date: 05/22/2005

His Highness the Aga Khan is among more than 300 delegates who are in the country to attend the International Press Institute's world congress to be opened by President Kibaki today.

Also expected to jet in today is Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who takes to the platform this afternoon to deliver an address on how Western media reports Africa with stories hinging on war, starvation and underdevelopment.

Nobel Prize laureate in Literature Wole Soyinka, who is a lecturer at Harvard University in USA, who was expected to fly in last night, sent word that he would not make it for the conference.

The ceremony, at Kenyatta International Conference Centre's amphitheatre, will kick off at 9.30am with a welcome address by the IPI chairman Mr Wilfred Kiboro, the Group Chief Executive of the Nation Media Group.

The Aga Khan, Imam of the Ismaili Muslims and founder of the Nation Media Group, will then speak on "The Promise and Potential of Africa" before inviting President Kibaki to officially open the congress.

At hand to welcome the delegates and other guests will be the IPI director Mr Johann Fritz.

Prof Soyinka was to give the keynote address in the afternoon on "Press Freedom Issues in Africa".

A spot check by the Sunday Nation yesterday established that the registration exercise and media accreditation went on smoothly at Hotel InterContinental.

Last night, the delegates were hosted to a dinner by Eveready Kenya.

Journalists get down to business, ready for action at the IPI conference yesterday.
Photo by Joseph Mathenge

Officials at the IPI secretariat and those from the official transport company, Pollman's Tours and Safaris, said there were all indications that more delegates than the envisioned number could turn up for the conference.

By last evening more than 360 delegates had been registered.

Tight security was also maintained at KICC and at the various leading city hotels where the delegates are residing.

Although the conference will be held at KICC today, subsequent meetings will be at Hotel InterContinental, one of the hotels where the delegates are booked in.

The 54th IPI general assembly – expected to be the biggest single gathering of media executives, editors and leading journalists ever hosted in East Africa – will discuss a range of issues pertaining to journalism and the role of the media in shaping global opinion on issues affecting ordinary people.

This will be the third time the Vienna-based organisation, which has a rich history and an enviable record as a defender of press freedom and promoter of ethical journalism, is meeting in Kenya.

The other meetings were in 1968 and 1981.

The Nation Media Group CEO, Mr Wilfred Kiboro, who is the IPI global chairman, addresses the delegates at an opening dinner at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi, on Friday night.
Photo by Joseph Mathenge

Founded in New York in 1950 by 34 editors from 15 countries, IPI promotes free flow of news and information, without state interference.

Having come just after the devastating Second World War, the editors strongly believed that a free press would contribute to making the world more peaceful and prosperous.

Currently, it is represented in 115 countries and enjoys widespread respect for its consistency in defending press freedom and promoting ethical journalism.

Global attention is expected to be focused on Kenya’s own democratic ideals and human rights record during the congress.

A special programme has been organised for those accompanying the delegates to enable them sample the beauty of Kenya.

A delegate is assisted by ushers during the registration for the International Press Institute world congress and 54th General Assembly at the Inter-Continental Hotel, Nairobi.
Photo by Joseph Mathenge

Aside from leading editors and journalists form all over the world, others lined up to address the three-day congress include Nobel Peace laureate and assistant minister foir Environment Wangari Maathai, Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi, Information and Communications minister Raphael Tuju, Constitution of Kenya Review Commission secretary PLO Lumumba and Barclays Bank regional managing director Adan Mohamed.

Mr Kiboro, Kameme FM managing director Rose Kimotho, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation managing director Wachira Waruru, East African Breweries chief executive Gerald Mahinda, National Council of Churches of Kenya secretary general Mutava Musyimi and University of Nairobi chancellor Joe Wanjui will play key roles.

General Motors Group Vice-President and President, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East Maureen Kempston Darkes, Nepad secretariat chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu, Official Opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta, Commonwealth Press Union executive director Lindsay Ross, Nation Media Group editorial director Wangethi Mwangi and Standard newspapers CEO Tom Mshindi are among the panellists.

Journalists Joachim Lenz (Deutsche Welle, Bonn), John Chiahemen (Reuters, South Africa), Adam Mynott (BBC, Nairobi), Amare Aregawi (The Reporter, Ethiopia), Alagi Yorro Jallow (The Independent, Gambia), Samir Khader (Al-Jazeera TV, Qatar) and Bart Dijkstra (Free Voice, Netherlands) will be in Nairobi for the event.