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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Great Lakes media conference adopts resolutions on press freedom

12-12-2008 (Copenhagen)
Great Lakes media conference adopts resolutions on press freedom
A number of resolutions addressing press freedom and media development issues will be presented to the foreign ministers of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) member states later this month.
The resolutions came out of a conference held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 24 to 26 November that brought together more than 100 representatives of the ICGLR of 10 of the 11 member states (Sudan was the only country not represented). Participants included national representatives of the ICGLR, media representatives, as well as representatives from regulatory and self-regulatory bodies in the region.

According to Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, executive secretary of the ICGLR, the role of the media in the region is crucial. “Our region is still facing enormous security challenges in Eastern DRC, Darfur, Central African Republic and in northern Uganda. The media has to play an important role complementing regional and international efforts aimed at resolving conflicts in our region,” she said.

“At the heart of what we do must be the promotion of fundamental mechanisms that draw on the strengths of our communities to find their own way to prosperity and peace. Freedom of expression, independent and pluralistic media are the centre of this formula," said Mogens Schmidt, UNESCO’s Deputy Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information.

The resolutions adopted by the Kigali Conference highlighted the following:
  • Continued unlawful arrests and harassment of media practitioners in the pursuit of their duty should be condemned.
  • Broader engagement amongst media stakeholders, especially training organizations, regulators, media house owners and other media operators should be encouraged with a view to raising professional standards.
  • Constitutional reforms should be instituted to guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of media and the removal of claw back clauses that negate basic constitutional rights.
  • Access to information legislation, decriminalization of civil media offenses, appropriate support mechanisms and incentives for the industry, stakeholder consultation and co-existence of self-regulatory media councils and regulatory authorities should be instituted and promoted.
The conference partners included the International Media Support (IMS), UNESCO, Media Foundation of West Africa, ICGLR, Institut Panos Paris (IPP) and the Rwandan High Press Council.
Related themes/countries

      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2008
      · Rwanda: News Archives 2008
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