Panel #1: How Digital Media is Changing the Landscape of Media in Africa
Panel #2: Promises and Perils: Investigative Journalism in Africa
Panel #3: Supporting Independent Media: How the International Community Can Help
Screening of Guidebook to Impunity
Throughout Africa journalists are being harassed, threatened, and killed for doing their jobs. Though polls show that most Africans support free media and democratic institutions, many self-serving African political leaders are trying to reverse democratic gains by repressing media freedom. Please join us as we kick off World Press Freedom Day by bringing together some of the leading independent journalists in Africa to highlight their resistance against repressive governments throughout the continent. This daylong event will feature panels on digital media, investigative journalism, and the international community’s role on the continent. It will conclude with the premiere of a film produced by the Nairobi-based InformAction, entitled Guidebook to Impunity, and a networking reception sponsored by Freedom House and the Open Society Foundations.
Featured participants include Congresswoman Karen Bass; Ambassador Princeton Lyman; Maini Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of assembly and association; and journalists from Ethiopia, Burundi, The Gambia, Sudan, DRC, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria.
**Please stay tuned for a full agenda and detailed descriptions of each panel.**
**Live stream video links for all panel sessions will be made available soon**
- 9:30 Opening Remarks: Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy
- 10:00-11:45 How Digital Media is Changing the Landscape of Media in Africa As Internet penetration rapidly increases in Africa, online media is providing opportunities for African journalists to reach new audiences. Through social media and mobile devices, journalists are publishing stories about important- and sometimes controversial- issues. Despite governments across the continent attempts to restrict journalists’ free expression, journalists are actively pushing back and using digital media to expand the boundaries of free speech. Featuring Omoyele Sowore, Nigeria, Sahara Reporters; Chouchou Namegabe, DRC; moderated by Jerri Eddings, International Center for Journalists.
- 12:00-1:00 Lunch
- 1:00-2:30 Promises and Perils: Investigative Journalism in Africa Investigative journalism is an important tool in bringing public attention to political corruption and corporate misdeed and in some cases, leading to social and political change. In African countries, investigative journalism faces many challenges, including a lack of sustainable business models, the need for proper journalist training, and a general lack of an investigative reporting culture. How can we encourage more investigative journalism on the continent?How should such journalism-the most complicated and costly to produce-get financed when news organizations are struggling for a sustainable business model? FeaturingSadio Kante, Republic of the Congo, Reuters; Mekki Yousif, Sudan, Sudanese Press Freedom Organization; Fatou Senghore, Gambia, Article 19; moderated by Diana Schemo, 100Reporters.
- 2:30-4:00 Supporting Independent Media: How the International Community Can Help Building political support for independent media institutions is difficult. While polls show that most Africans support free media, many African leaders continue to repress media freedoms. The international community needs to support Africa in its effort to create and maintain open and independent media systems in these difficult circumstances. What can the international community do to support the growth of institutions on the ground? How can we build political support for independent media institutions? Featuring David Gilmour, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Sue Valentine, Committee to Protect Journalists; Vukasin Petrovic, Freedom House; Sarah Pray, Open Society Foundations; moderated by Ambassador Princeton Lyman.
- 4:00-4:30 Closing Remarks: Mark Lagon, Freedom House
- 4:30-6:00 Screening of Guidebook to Impunity Despite facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, Uhuru Kenyatta won the 2013 Kenyan election. Two years after election the court dropped all charges against President Kenyatta. Renown Kenyan human rights defender, Maina Kiai, unravels the layers of political corruption that exist in Kenya’s struggle for democracy. Featuring Ryota Jonen, World Movement for Democracy; Maina Kiai, UN Special Rappetour for Freedom of Assembly and Association; moderated by Vukasin Petrovic, Freedom House.
- 6:00-7:30 Closing Reception