KIGALI - The Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, has said that the 54-member country bloc will support the local media through sharing experience and offering technical expertise.
Mwamba made the remarks after meeting the caretaker Minister for Information, Protais Musoni, ahead of the Commonwealth Forum on Media and Economic Development that kicks-off in Kigali today.
“Our contribution to our member states is at two levels. First; it’s a membership-based organization that helps us share experiences, look at best practices and see how other countries are responding to similar challenges and issues,” she said.
“The second option is technical support that can be provided for specific interventions.”
The forum, organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat, in conjunction with the government, will run for four days and close to 150 delegates, including foreign and local journalists, are expected to attend.
Masire-Mwamba also highlighted some key issues that the local media need to address; some include facilitation and capacity building.
“We believe that this gives us an opportunity to reflect on what the government can do to support, but also what the media and the private sector can do, because it’s a partnership. Where we see media relations working well is where there is a strong partnership and responsibility on both sides,” she said.
Mwamba added that the forum will discuss the role of media in development and take the opportunity to share experience from the region and highlight the trends and issues that are pertinent to a vibrant and productive media.
Musoni said that he and Mwamba talked about the state of media in the country.
“There will be a two-day training session during which we will look at new ways of creating partnerships between the government, the media, the private sector and politicians to the benefit of the public and national development,” Musoni said.
The Minister noted that both the Commonwealth and the government share the conviction that a vibrant, accountable and professional media is a cornerstone for building strong, effective and accountable democratic institutions - key drivers of good governance and development.
He noted that the government knows that the establishment of an independent, pluralistic, responsible and free press is essential in the enhancement and maintenance of democracy, and to the achievement of sustainable economic development.