Media Summit should harness communication power to sell EAC

Today the second East African Media Summit opens in Dar es Salaam, with many leading media and diplomatic personnel in the region attending. It is being opened by Uganda’s Eriya Kategaya, Chairman of the East African Community Council of Ministers under the theme: “The Role of the Media in Addressing the Causes of Conflict and Instability, and their Prevention: The East African dimension.”

Sponsored as it is by the East African Community and the East African Business Council, this summit is very important in addressing many issues affecting the development of the region, some of which hinge on how the media can help in bringing into reality the cardinal objectives of reviving the East African regional body.

It is a fact that the community is facing visibility – or invisibility – problems. A great many East Africans do not know that the EAC has already started registering some achievements, like harmonising education curricula for all member states, and waiving visa fees for students, who can now travel to any member state for education without any such hindrances.

The EAC will score greatly with the presence of newspaper owners, publishers, producers, editors and journalists – this is a group that is well-positioned to carry forth the message far and wide to the population and awaken it for bigger things.

Perchance, this will also be the re-branding campaign that the EAC has programmed to make the people in East Africa not only aware, but also participate in the decision of creating an East African Federation from a point of knowledge, thus strength.

The Media Summit’s objectives would fall short without discussing its role in bringing peace and security of person and property in the region. And it could not have been held at a more convenient time, with recalcitrant Kenya leaders still dilly dallying to form a proper coalition government, thereby continuing to hold the nation and the region hostage, and provoking destructive demonstrations by their half-hearted peace restoration and power sharing measures.

It is now all up to the journalists at the summit to make tough resolutions that will see their productions making a positive change in the lives of the East African populace in terms of regional unity.


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