Senegal: 60 African Journalists, Rights Activists Attend Confab in Dakar

27 September 2023

Sixty African journalists and rights activists are attending an international conference to raise awareness on minority issues, community tensions and conflicts.

It is to also help build and consolidate sustainable peace and stability in Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

The conference is being organised by Fahamu Africa, a Pan-African organisation that supports the movement for social justice by providing learning, research, platforms for advocacy and communication, and Minority Rights Group International (MRGI), with financial support from European Union.

It would also enable both journalists and activists to establish a network to improve media coverage and consolidate peace in the respective countries.

The President of Fahamu, Mouhamadou Tidiane Kassé, in an opening address, explained that most of the time journalists focused and reported on issues other than reporting on issues that affected the minority, including women, migrants, disabled among others, and stated that media coverage on the minority were inadequate.

He stressed the need for more coverage issues that concerned the minority as they were an important part of society who were vulnerable and needed to be included, supported and protected through institutions in governance, and added they should not be marginalised.

Mr Kassé stated that to ensure a comprehensive coverage on minority groups, his outfit, through Engaging Media and Minorities to Act for Peacebuilding (EMMAP) project, and in partnership with Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) in Sierra Leone, Media Platform on Environment and Climate Change (MPEC) in Ghana, was raising awareness on interconnection between the minority groups, community tensions and conflicts to ensure peace to protect such groups.

He said the exchange meeting would help to create a network between the journalists and activists and to help journalists to improve their work and coverage of information about minority groups to push peace and to have peace in the stated countries as well as ensure sustainable peace that concerned minority groups.

He stated that if countries wanted to be united, there was the need to include the minority groups and not to set them aside.

"At the end of the day, journalists coming from Sierra Leone, Ghana and Senegal would be able to exchange ideas and be more focused on issues that are related to minority groups, especially issues of migration, and peace building, which have been the deficits of inadequate coverage on minority issues. How can we do it better and how can we do it in a manner that would enable us cover sufficient issues about them for our country's good," he said.

For his part, the National Coordinator of MRCG, Francis Sowa (PHD), said there was the need for the media to change their episodically approach in reporting on issues concerning minority groups, which highlighted just events around such minority groups, and rather focus on thematic issues which involve reporting on issues that directly affect them.

The Media Officer with MRGI, Anna Alboth, said the exchange meeting came up at the end of a two-year project, where different activities, including field activities for journalists, have been organised to ensure cooperation between journalists and activists

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