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African journalists underline importance of free press

May 15, 2012, 11:28 AM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

The two-day Turkey-Africa Media Forum came to a close last Friday in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, with over 300 media owners, editors and other figures invited from 54 African Union member countries along with Turkey underlining the importance of freedom of the press as a principle highlighted in all documents that deal with contemporary values.

The forum, held under the auspices of Turkish deputy premier Bulent Arinc, and organized by the office of the prime minister’s directorate general of Press and Information, as well as supported by the African Media Initiative, availed the participants an opportunity for comprehensive information-sharing and exchange of views.

It was, among others, aimed at setting the basis for establishing solid and mutually-rewarding partnership

In a final communiqué issued at the end of the forum, participants committed themselves to leveraging the power of the media to establish a common future for the countries in the region, and promote human development and economic prosperity of the two peoples.

“We share the ideal of building a peaceful world, of shaping its future with democratic values, and embracing a cross-cultural spirit of tolerance and brotherhood,” the communiqué said.

Journalists also expressed their strong belief that promoting solidarity among media representatives of participating countries will go a long way in boosting regional and international cooperation, and reinforce their democratic culture.

“As media delegates to this forum, we publicly declare our will and determination to work towards this goal, as we believe that our common ideals will be realized faster through robust and sustained relations amongst media organisations of our countries,” it added.

While announcing the launching of a joint platform to institutionalize regional media consultations and promote our common interests, the participants agreed to establish a journalists exchange program under the auspices of Turkey’s Director General of Information and African Media Initiative.

The two institutions also committed to explore the creation of a mechanism to facilitate African media houses’ access to equipment and other resources to develop the African media industry.