KIGALI - In a bid to counter negative publicity from western media watchdogs, the East African Journalists Association (EAJA) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) have resolved to work together to change the trend.
The resolution was reached yesterday during a two-day regional conference that attracted East African journalists to discuss the role of foreign media watchdogs operating in the region.
The association’s coordinator for media freedom, advocacy and research, Tervil Okoko, presented extracts showing inconsistencies and prejudices made especially by Reporters without Borders (RSF), a Paris based media watchdog and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Okoko called on the media fraternity in the region to develop a common strategy on how they can constructively engage with the organizations and take the lead in telling the story about their own countries.
“These organisations publish reports without assessing what the causes of the problem are, so they come up with all these judgmental and confrontational publications meant to undermine Africa”. “It should be a commitment on our part to produce factual reports that confront them with facts whenever they report unethically,” Okoko said.
The President of FAJ, Omar Faruk Osman, asked media unions in Africa to execute their role as the main source of information, in order to prevent the watchdogs from using fraud sources without the consent of the unions.
“The biggest problem we have in Africa is that we don’t communicate our position very well and yet these watchdogs are very fast at chasing for their interests. We must know what is good for us, nobody should dictate to us what we want,” Osman said.
It was later agreed at the conference that journalists in the region share knowledge and information in regard to the challenges they face, as well as set the pace for a business-oriented but professional media sector.