On May 25, 80 journalists from 45 African countries gathered in Istanbul, Turkey, for a two-day media summit organized by the Directorate of Communications.
According to Professor Fahrettin Altun, Director of Communications – Turkish Presidency, Turkey’s relations with Africa have gained unprecedented momentum and made extraordinary progress over the past 20 years.
“Türkiye’s interest and affection towards the African continent is based on the principles of equality and winning together,” he said in his opening speech, adding that. “Our President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, attaches particular importance to our relations with the African continent and African nations. Thanks to his strong leadership, his determination and his sincerity.
Professor Fahrettin Altun also urged the media fraternity in Africa to see Turkish companies as “solution partners” in everything from infrastructure and energy to defense and food.
“Turkey is a country that acts independently in all areas, starting with foreign policy and the economy,” he said while presenting Turkey’s faultless record, which “has no stain of colonialism in its history”.
The two-day summit which culminated with Africa Day celebrations brought together a rich cocktail of speakers including African diplomats, heads of public institutions, media representatives, academics and industry representatives. private and NGOs.
Kenya was represented by Queenter Mbori, the first President of the Standard Group Women Network, who highlighted some of the challenges faced by journalists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at the summit, Ms Mbori also proposed that journalists in Africa should be equipped with specialized reporting training for science and health, trauma, gender, digital safety and security.
Other panelists included South African MSG Media Group, Given Mkhari, who highlighted the realities facing African journalists during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) and the World Language Editor of Anadolu Agency (AA). Erman Yüksel in chief, without forgetting Kayode Akintemi, editor in chief of the GNEC Media Group of Nigeria.
Omer Faruk Gorcin, deputy editor of the fact-checking line of the Anadolu Agency, Ronelle Mathilda Rademeyer, editor-in-chief of the Namibian daily Republikein, Seynabou Diop, director of Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise, Nur Ozkan Erbay, director of the National Office Turkish brand communications department.
Issues discussed included post-pandemic challenges in journalism, women in journalism, journalism under digital siege, Turkish companies as solution partners, and investing in Africa’s human capital.
At the end of the summit, the Turkish government pledged to implement journalist exchange programs with major media organizations, starting with Anadolu Agency and TRT, and their African counterparts.
“We will give priority to young journalists with less than five years of experience to strengthen the long-term partnership between our nations,” said Professor Fahrettin Altun, Director of Communications – Turkish Presidency.
“We find it important that African journalists tell the stories of Africa and want to support their activities. In this regard, we will provide micro-grants for reporting projects in Africa, including climate change and discrimination. We will pioneer efforts to publish them in Turkish and distribute them to international audiences through our foreign language outlets. At the same time, we will improve the visibility of African good practices through this project,” he added.