Tuesday, September 12, 2006

high way africa starts at Rhodes university

over 400 journalists from all over africa are attending a three day conference at highway africa
12 September 2006 (AfricaNews/HANA) - More than 500 delegates from 42 countries have gathered in Grahamstown, South Africa, for the 10th Highway Africa conference, the biggest ICT conference in Africa.The conference will assess the state of African media, particularly with regards to harnessing new technologies as well as the crucial role that new media has played in democracy and development.

This year's gathering of media practitioners, private companies and NGOs will no doubt be a reflection and celebration of the past ten years and a springboard for the future of the organisation.Addressing the delegates, director of Highway Africa Chris Kabwato said it was possible for African journalists to shatter the myths that dictate how issues should be covered and represented through the media."Let us dare to challenge the economic policies and issues of democracy in our countries. Let us shake the fundamental myths and transform the way we do journalism," said Kabwato.Kabwato underscored Highway Africa's commitment to training African journalists on ICTs, research, information provision, and the conference which offers networking opportunities for media practitioners.

Professor Guy Berger, Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University said that in the last ten years, African journalism has overcome many obstacles and continues to make important strides. "Ten years ago the Internet was barely known. Right now we can talk of the digital divide and the differences in access between rural and urban areas.We are a movement, a community, and an incubator for ideas awaiting development," said Berger. While emphasising the need to learn and embrace new technology, Berger said that Highway Africa is not an engineering school but seeks to empower journalists to communicate using ICTs.

Once again, a highlight of the event will be the SABC live televised, Highway Africa Awards Ceremony and the Innovative use of New Media Awards. This award recognises candidates for excellence, in their use of new media.Speakers to the seminar will include Dr Fredrick Madhai, a Kenyan academic based at UK Coventry University, Professor Jimi Adesina, head of Rhodes sociology department and Professor Keyan Tomaselli, the director of the Centre for Cultural and Media studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Annelisa Burgee, a producer for SABC's Special Assignment and Dr. Peter Verweij, a Dutch new media expert

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