We, journalists and participants of the third Africa Senior Media Dialogue (ASMD) met on 16 and 17 November 2017 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, to discuss “The Role of Media in Africa’s Development, Women’s Empowerment and its Support for Agenda 2063”.
Conscious of the need to accelerate the implementation of the recommendations of the first two editions of the ASMD, which are encompassed in “The Vaal Consensus” (South Africa, 2009) and The Maseru Declaration” (Lesotho, 2011).
Recalling the decision by Africa Heads of States in January 2015 during the African Union’s Summit in Addis Ababa to establish Agenda 2063 as the Africa Union’s flagship programme for Africa’s Development.
Reaffirming the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and access to information and the pivotal role that women play in Africa’s development.
Sensitive to the fact that the empowerment of women is often hampered by societal norms and behaviours which have to be addressed through continuous sensitization campaigns, education programmes and other awareness building activities.
Concerned by the current low level of safety of journalists and unacceptable level of impunity across African countries.
Positioning ourselves as watchdogs of democracy and good governance in Africa in the social, political, economic and administrative fields.
Conscious of our collective responsibility to change and own the narrative on the continent while remaining a critical and impartial observer of the society we belong to.
Recognizing our insufficient reporting on African issues, including those affecting our closest neighbours.
We are committing ourselves that, within the next 24 months, from the signature of this declaration:
- To engage in a structured and committed partnership with the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa to encourage the exchange of information and to ensure regular communication with the United Nations System and the African Union;
- To promote and own Agenda 2063 and its motto “ The Africa we want” as a common pact;
- To develop an open knowledge and content sharing platform between journalists in Africa;
- To identify and prioritize relevant capacity building programmes to strengthen the skills of journalists;
- To promote a safer environment for journalists through intensive advocacy on the three P program (Prevention, Protection, Prosecution)) with the aim of leaving no case of violence against journalists behind;
- To combat relentlessly the present unacceptable level of impunity plaguing the continent, deterring aspiring young people to embrace the profession and those already in the profession to exercise without fear or favour;
- To publish and package sellable stories on women’s achievements and provide more editorial space for women voices;
- To promote a more positive narrative on the continent by encouraging, without departing from a rigorous professional approach, a balanced reporting on the good side of news which can be coined by “solution journalism” or “development journalism”
- FAJ, as Africa’s largest body of journalists takes the commitment to endorse, circulate and popularize the Addis Ababa Declaration to media and the population at large.
- To evaluate mid-term (12 months from signature) progress made on the above nine commitments and submit individually for each signatory, a short report on achievements and challenges to be discussed in the next edition of the Africa Senior Media Dialogue.
17 November 2017