- Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum 2018
- Lisa Kretschmer
- Bheki Makhubu
- Arne Semsrott and Zoé Titus
“Unlocking Information in Africa: A Key to Investigative Journalism and Democratic Participation” was one of many valuable sessions at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum 2018 held in Bonn, Germany this week under the theme “Global Inequalities”.
The aim of this session, organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), was to give an overview of the challenges facing many African journalists and the need for the legal underpinning and implementation of access to information for the practice of sound journalism, government accountability, and citizen information and participation. This vibrant session, moderated by Lisa Kretschmer, Head of Research & Project Coordinator for Reporters Without Borders, underscored the key role of access to information as a precondition for the media to carry out their watchdog function in democratic societies.
Bheki Makhubu, editor and columnist of Swaziland’s The Nation magazine, described difficulties common to many African journalists in providing responsible journalism and conducting effective investigative reporting. He shared his observations and experiences about corruption, harassment, death threats and legislative impediments, as well as the obstacles and threats encountered by government and commercial interests.
The link between freedom of expression and information and media development in Africa was highlighted by Zoé Titus, former regional director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). Titus spearheaded a number of projects designed to support journalists in danger and transform the policy environment in support of a vibrant and independent media sector. She is co-founder of the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI). The FES has been a strong international supporter of Access to Information initiatives on the African continent.
Arne Semsrott of FragDenStaat.de and Freedom of Information expert contributed a European perspective to the panel by comparing the German “Informationsfreiheitsgesetz” with the “Model Law on Access to Information in Africa.”