Media Professionals in Africa have called on governments to be committed, invest and help resuscitate Pan-African Press Agency (PanaPress) that will tell the true story and sharpen the African narratives on the globe.
Founded on July 20, 1979 in Addis Ababa, PanaPress was officially inaugurated and commenced news agency activities on 25 May 1983, and re-launched by UNESCO in 1993.
But, the media professionals expressed regret that the agency was not able to deliver its mandate and sell the continent because Africa governments had also failed to invest and contribute to sustain it.
“PanaPress is still alive, but it is struggling to survive. Africa governments and Heads of State must therefore be committed, and invest hugely into it,” says Aisha Dabo, a Journalist and a staunch Internet activist.
“In fact Africa requires an authoritative voice in the global media space to sharpen its narratives and project the potentials of the continent to the western world,” she added.
The media professionals made the call during a panel discussion on a media dialogue on reporting internet fraud in Africa.
Organised by the “Internet4Good” (I4G), a project being funded by the Bosch Alumni Network, a German organisation, the webinar session sought to sensitise participants on the implications of the singular negative framing of internet use in Africa.
It also exposed participants, mostly media practitioners, to the numerous opportunities on the internet, and on how the media could shape a positive, pro-internet message in Africa.
Dr Wunpini Mohammed, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, noted Western media organisations had their agenda, and were constantly pushed by global media giants which “want to ridicule Africa with their content”.
He observed the idea of establishing the PanaPress was still relevant, and it behooved on the continent to capitalise, strengthen, and position it well to project the true image of Africa and her people.
“context is always not missing in any Africa related media story going outside”, Mayowa Tijani, a fact-checking Journalist at AFP noted, saying as a ‘media power house’ for Africa, governments on the continent ought to be re-dedicated and re-committed to the course of the news agency.
According to Nuong Faalong, Journalist, Bloomberg Media Fellow, many international journalists remained ignorant of Africa, and “we must take the responsibility to sharpen their mind-set”.
“An authoritative media outlet that will cover Africa is good, but such must remain impartial as well,” she indicated.
Established in 2017, Lisa Richter, a Coordinator, Bosch Alumni Network, explained the network sought to foster collaboration across regions and countries among professionals who had participated in its programmes.
As the largest foundation in Germany, she said more than 7,000 professionals had participated in its programmes, and had funded projects from participants, and lauded the I4G project.
Oyindamola Adegboye, Team Leader of the I4G project, expressed appreciation to Bosch, for funding the project, and thanked the panelists and participants for their commitment and contributions to making the project achieve desirable outcomes.