Dakar — The Ghanaian-born Professor George Ayittey Thursday stressed the importance of media and free flow of information on the advancement and development of societies, saying "radio is the death and life of Africa".
He was speaking during the plenary session of the African Media Leaders Forum AMLF which got underway at King Fahd Palace Hotel and runs from November 7th to the 9th.
According to Prof. Ayittey, societies that value free flow of information are the ones advancing.
He said for much part of the post-colonial era leaders used the media for propaganda and "the disease of the society were concealed".
He went on to buttress that out of the 54 countries in Africa only 10 have free media.
He said because dictators on the continent knows the power of the media particularly radio, they therefore tend to control them.
Ayittey also talked about the problems faced by media workers saying hundreds of journalists are in jail and hundreds are in exile.
Moving on to media responsibility he said journalists have to keep ethics in mind while hailing African Media Initiative for coming up with guidelines in Tunis in 2011.
For the Ghanian-born Professor, it is not only the media that is responsible for much of Africa’s failings but rather other sectors as well.
These, he continues, include institutions like the parliament, the electoral officem security sector among others.
Moving further, Ayittey also blame "leadership failure" for Africa’s woes as well. He said many African dictators prefer to stay on ruling for decades and looting public coffers.
He said in some parts of Africa leaders cannot be changed without destroying their country.
He also blamed African intellectuals and the international community for being part of the problems faced by the continent.