Friday, May 24, 2024

Regional media councils form body in a bid to enhance press freedom

In a historic move, media regulators from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda have joined forces to establish the East African Press Council (EAPC).

The newly registered association aims at protecting and promoting media freedom in the region.

The inaugural meeting of the EAPC which took place in Arusha brought together high-ranking government officials, policymakers, editors, and journalists.

Efforts are also underway to include media regulators from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, and South Sudan.

The Regional Press Council will aim to promote media regulation development and address issues on press freedom among journalists in the region

Kabuji Makajanga

Regional regulation

Media Council of Tanzania Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga who is currently the Chairman of the EAPC said the association plans to address media regulation, content moderation, and the promotion of media freedom protocols in the region.

“The Regional Press Council will aim to promote media regulation development and address issues on press freedom among journalists in the region,” Kajubi Mukajanga.

We realised that our media development and regulatory mandate is cross-border and therefore we cannot restrict our mandate to geographical borders. This was also necessitated by our frequency of trade areas

David Omwoyo

Media Council of Kenya CEO and Secretary of the association David Omwoyo, highlighted the key focus areas of the EAPC, including the promotion of regional press freedom, the monetization of digital platforms to ensure sustainable income for media houses, and capacity building for media workers.

He emphasized the potential for improved collaboration and standardization across the region through this platform.

“The EAPC will provide a platform focused on promoting regional press freedom, monetisation of digital platforms to raise sustainable income for media houses and capacity building for media workers,” he said.

“We realised that our media development and regulatory mandate is cross-border and therefore we cannot restrict our mandate to geographical borders. This was also necessitated by our frequency of trade areas,” furthered Omwoyo.

Once you are fully established, we can give you an observer status to legally enable you to attend meetings of the summit and various councils

Peter Mathuki

Policies

East African Community Secretary General Peter Mathuki welcomed the formation of the association and pledged his support while recognizing the importance of coordinating the media under one umbrella.

“Once you are fully established, we can give you an observer status to legally enable you to attend meetings of the summit and various councils,” he said.

Mathuki emphasized that the new observer status would allow the media to have their views and ideas incorporated into policy discussions during the EAC summits.

He further encouraged the EAPC to expand its membership and create a sense of ownership by reaching out to media regulators in other EAC partner states.

Mathuki assured the association of his commitment to convincing the Council to grant them observer status, enabling effective coordination of information within the East African Community.

With the establishment of the East African Press Council, the region takes a significant step forward in promoting press freedom, ensuring media sustainability, and fostering cross-border collaboration among media regulators, journalists, and stakeholders.

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