by Ousman Sillah
Editors from around the African continent converged in the Chadian
capital, Ndjamena, for the 6th General Assembly meeting of The African
Editors’ Forum (TAEF) from the 2 – 5 February, 2015.The theme of this biennial meeting was “Media and Crises in Africa:
Epidemics and Insecurity.
As part of the meeting, the four days convergence also witnessed the
election of a new executive council for the organisation following the
election of its former President, Cherif Moumine Sy, to serve as the
President of the new transitional National Assembly (Parliament) of
Burkina Faso which is tasked to build the foundation of a solid
democratic dispensation after the popular revolution that ousted
Formally opening the 4 days event was Mr. Kalzeubet Pahimi Deubet, the
Prime Minister of Chad, who represented the President of the republic,
Idriss Deby Itno. In his opening statement, noted that
the choice of Ndjamena to host this continental media gathering is
right as Chad recognises the importance of the role of the media in
Africa’s development. He said Chad has now decriminalised speech in statutes or laws. He called on the African media to interrogate the
causes of insecurity and share the results with the African public.
Delivering the keynote address earlier, Mr. Hassan Sylla, the Chadian
Minister of Information and Spokesperson of the Government,
acknowledges the importance of a free press to play an effective
watchdog role in society.
The Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee and President of the
Central African Editors’ Forum, Mr. Michael Didama, and the Secretary
General of TAEF, Emrakeb Assefa, both welcomed the participants and
spoke on the work and challenges facing the media in Africa.
A range of pertinent topics were discussed in three panel sessions
which touched on “Security and Health Challenges in Africa and the
Role of the Media in Addressing Critical Issues”, Media and Health
Crises in Africa” and “Insecurities in the African Media Environment”.
The meeting also discussed the Ebola outbreak in some African
countries and the Boko Haram threat in the areas bordering North
Eastern Nigeria and North Western Cameroun and of which Chad has sent
troops to fight them.
The new TAEF leadership comprises Mr. Jovial Rantao (South Africa) as
President, Mr. Maurice Chabi (Benin) as Vice President, Madam Emrakeb
Assefa (Ethiopia) as Secretary General, Mr. Mondli Makhanya (South
Africa) as Treasurer, Mr. Francois Xavier Luc Deutchoua (Cameroun)
responsible for Training and Projects and Mr. Zied El-Heni (Algeria)
responsible for Media Freedom.
The next TAEF general Meeting will be hosted by South Africa in 2016.
Under the auspices of the Chadian Government, the participants were
invited to a welcoming reception and a gala night of cultural
performances as well as a visit to the game reserve of Zakouma in the
South Eastern Chad, which is situated at 900 kilometres from Ndlamena.