26 April 2019

Africa: AU to Hold 2019 WPFD Global Conference

Blantyre — The African Union (AU) will from May 1 to 3 this year (2019), hold the 2019 Global Conference to mark the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) under the theme: 'Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.'

According to a media advisory on AU's website, the conference will be co-hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia with support from Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa.

"This follows a fruitful collaboration between the AU Commission and UNESCO through the regional coordination mechanism framework in promoting freedom of expression and the role of a healthy African media in achieving aspirations of agenda 2063 for the second year in a row on the African continent," reads the advisory.

The AU said events under the 2019 theme will address key priorities for Africa and the world, like how the digital era is affecting electoral communications; the role of media in democracy: discrediting professional journalism and disrupting internet access as well as the media's potential to contribute to a culture of sustainable peace and democracy.

Locally, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) - Malawi Chapter, earlier indicated that the commemoration will be held on Saturday, May 4 in Mzuzu.

On the day, MISA will also give out annual awards to journalists as part of the celebrations to mark the 2019 WPFD scheduled for the Grand Palace Hotel.

Every year, May 3 is set aside to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom. The day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 and mandated UNESCO to take a lead.

"This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence," MISA Malawi National Director, Aubrey Chikungwa said in a separate interview.

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