BY REBECCA WANJIKU
African journalism is contributing to development and the situation will improve if journalists overcome myths and obstacles, said Highway Africa Director, Chris Kabwato.
In his welcome address, Kabwato drew an analogy with the Greek mythological figure Icarus who is famous for flying closer to the sun and his artificial wings melted.
Welcoming more than 500 journalists from 42 countries Kabwato said it was possible for African journalists to break the myths that dictate how issues should be covered and represented through media.
“Let us all defy the Greek mythology and fly closer to the sun than Icarus. Let us dare to challenge the economic policies and issues of democracy in our countries. Let us shake the fundamental myths and transform the way we do journalism,” said Highway Africa Director, Chris Kabwato.
Kabwato underscored Highway Africa’s commitment to training of African journalists on ICTs, research, information provision and the conference which offers networking opportunities for media practitioners.
Prof. Guy Berger, Head of the school of journalism and Media studies at Rhodes University said that in the last ten years, African journalism has overcome a lot and the progress is encouraging.
“Ten years ago the internet was barely known. Right now we can talk of the digital divide and the differences in access between rural and urban areas. We are a movement, a community, and an incubator for ideas waiting development,” said Berger.
While emphasizing the need to learn and embrace new technology, Berger said that Highway Africa is not an engineering school but seeks to empower journalists to communicate using ICTs.
The ICT tools, Berger added, should be used in the context of other pressing issues such as economic policies, culture and peculiar circumstances that a country maybe facing.
“There is passion in what we are trying to do. HA is ten years old and in the upcoming teenage years, there will be excitement and lots of experiments,” Berger concluded.