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General News Mon, 18 Sep 2006

Africa image must be re-branded

Accra, Sept. 18, GNA - Africa's International Media Summit, which seeks to promote the branding of the continent opened in Accra on Monday with a call on African Journalists to project the continent's positive image.

Mr. Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations urged the African media to focus on projecting the achievements, social cultural development and sell the continent to the outside world.

He noted that positive reportage of the continent would be the basis for the social transformation and new image of the continent. "We cannot continue to cry over the negative reportage in the international media about Africa and its people, we need to tell our own stories through our local media, Mr. Obestebi-Lamptey stated at the opening of the Media Summit in Accra.

The conference, organised by African Communications Agency (ACA) in collaboration with World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is on the theme: "Re-Branding of Africa" project and seeks to re-open and reawaken the excellent opportunities and possibilities of the new and emerging Africa.

The Summit is being held at a time when the Continent of Africa, has a dire need for a change in perceptions and impressions about Africa.

The role of The Media in this "mission" cannot be over-emphasized. Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said, 93the Media is the most significant segment of African society and must take a decisive and more committed position in Africa's renaissance'.

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It is expected that resolute follow-up programmes and activities - by The Media - will emerge from the Summit discussions to change the current perception of Africa.

Mr Obestebi-Lamptey noted that Journalists have ethical responsibility in regard to reporting news that informed the people and the subsequent effects of change, empowerment and action would follow. He said Africa's image had suffered from major media hits emphasising on war, famine and HIV/AIDS whereas strong and positive media effects could transform African economies and more importantly her image.

Speaking on "National Branding As A Business Strategy: Contribution of Intellectual Property," Dr. Desta Meghoo-Peddie an International Development Consultant based in Addis Ababa commended many developing countries which, according to her, had created systems that addressed the myriad of issues pertaining to intellectual property. She noted, "the establishment of solid property laws and its strict enforcement would create a viable impact on the sustainable development of the continent.

On using the media to brand the continent, Dr Meghoo-Peddie noted: "We must not discount the power of the media."

"The media has been used as a tool of destruction to the image and history of Africa and now as the African media grows and we can tell our own stories to our own people we must step up the fight and act in our own interests."

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Dr Meghoo-Peddie challenged the participants, African Journalists and governments to strengthen commitment to the effort of promoting and creating awareness of development in Africa. "Like the giros, of old, lets us inform and empower Africans, with a renewed commitment to the future of Africa and the reality of manifesting our great Renaissance."

Mrs Oboshie Sai Cofie, Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation said African leaders ought to reject unconstitutional rule, be committed to the rule of law, the respect for human rights and the practice sound economy policies that would make the continent a new one.

She said despite the positive achievements of Africa, she was still being portrayed in negative lights and that 93tells us that there is need to identify an appropriate mechanism for information on Africa."

Mrs Cofie said government applauded the Ghanaian media which was showing - rapid growth and positive development at re-branding Ghana " as a haven of press freedom."

Source: GNA