Launch of the network of journalists for peace and security in Africa (Netpeace)
an article by Sierra Express Media
The Journalists’ Network for Peace and Security (NetPeace) was officially launched on 4th November during the High Level Media workshop on the African Peace and Security Architecture(APSA), organized by the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) and the Peace and Security Department (DPS) of the African Union in partnership with the Francophone Research Network on Peace Operations (ROP) of the University of Montreal, at the AU headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 2nd to November 4th, under the theme “Promoting a Culture of Peace through the Media”.
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The workshop ended with the adoption of a declaration. The sixty participants who came from the 15 Member states of the African Union Peace and Security Council, communication experts and representatives of the AU organs and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) reiterated through this declaration their “collective commitment to work for the entrenchment of a culture of peace in Africa and urge all media to contribute thereto”. While welcoming the creation of NetPeace, they committed to promote the flow of information between the African Union and the media, particularly in the area of peace and security” and to “promote the network’s activities as well as synergies with existing media network for peace and security on the continent”.
This network is composed of journalists specialized on peace and security issues and aims at promoting and entrenching a culture of peace through the daily work of journalists. Through an electoral process, twelve coordinators including a Chair, a Deputy Chair and a Secretary coming from the 5 regions of the continent and the diaspora were elected. Ms Uduak Amimo, media expert from the Eastern region was elected President. Mr Vincent Nkeshimana, Director of Radio Isanganiro in Burundi, and Mr Nicolas Abena, editor-in-chief of I-Magazine, were respectively elected vice-president and secretary of NetPeace.
The following journalists were elected as regional coordinators: Mr Jedna Deida (Mauritania) and Mr Ahmed Khalifa (Lybia) for the Northern region, M. El Hadj M. Hameye Cissé (Mali) and Mr Malcom Joseph (Liberia) for the Western region, Mr Kadar Ali Diraneh (Djibouti) and Ms Uduak Amino (Kenya) for the Eastern region, Mr Vincent Nkeshimana (Burundi) and Mr Bernardino Ndze Biyoa (Equatorial Guinea) for the Central region, Mr Wisdom Mdzungairi (Zimbabwe) and Mr Lungi Daweti (South Africa) for the Southern region. Representatives of the diaspora, which account for the sixth region of Africa, are Nicolas Abena from I-Magazine and Melissa Chemam from Vox Africa TV.
(Click here for a French version of this article)
Question(s) related to this article:
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?
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Latest reader comment:
Perhaps the simplest way to illustrate the essential importance of free flow of information for a culture of peace is to discuss the importance of the control of information for the culture of war.
Here are excerpts from an Washington Post investigation two years ago entitled Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control. To read the original, click here.
"* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored." . . .
"Every day across the United States, 854,000 civil servants, military personnel and private contractors with top-secret security clearances are scanned into offices protected by electromagnetic locks, retinal cameras and fortified walls that eavesdropping equipment cannot penetrate. . .
Much of the information about this mission is classified. That is the reason it is so difficult to gauge the success and identify the problems of Top Secret America, including whether money is being spent wisely. The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 21/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn't include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs."
As we said in the draft Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace that we sent from UNESCO to the UN General Assembly in 1998:
"98. It is vital to promote transparency in governance and economic decision-making and to look into the proliferation of secrecy justified in terms of 'national security', 'financial security', and 'economic competitiveness'. The question is to what extent this secrecy is compatible with the access to information necessary for democratic practice and social justice and whether, in some cases, instead of contributing to long-term security, it may conceal information about processes (ecological, financial, military, etc.) which are a potential threat to everyone and which need therefore to be addressed collectively."