07 July, 2010

A footnote on Highway Africa

By Sihle Raz Mthembu
It was Edward Murrow who said “let us u once in a while take the time to exonerate the importance of ideas”, this is something that rings true even today, in particular in relation to the African context. As things stand the entire continent is in one of the biggest booms in its history. This is marked by a flurry of intellectual and practical discourse in both issues of today and tomorrow. Highway Africa has virtually been one of the last safe havens where African journalists and their colleagues from around the world can actually engage freely on the issues that concern, influence and aid the work that they do every day. What I have found particularly interesting about this years conference was the fact that the themes and topics that were discussed did not only look at journalism in isolation. But on the contrary place it along with its surroundings. Such as in relation to health care, conflict, journalism education, technology and other issues that continue to plague the world today. The world journalism education seminars and panels were particularly interesting as they gave insight into some of the different experiences and commonalities. The field of journalism education is also one of the key issues that not only prevent journalists from doing their job efficiently but it also makes it easy for “Enemies if the truth” to undermine the journalists and their profession. The journalism congress has in a matter of days made significant strides in raising awareness about some of the curricula from around the world, how these curricula can be better structured and ultimately how it can help industry get well trained journalist that will give the public stories of the highest calibre. Just from walking around in the venues one can see that the world is indeed getting smaller. Here you are getting a mixture of cultures and countries in dialogue (I was particularly impressed by the integration of French as well as Chinese interpretations in the seminar). The highway Africa conference has explored most of the possible avenues of journalism dialogue and perhaps next year there will be an even broader focus

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