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World Governments Summit held in Dubai, discussed the role of news agencies in supporting future economies




As part of the World Governments Summit (WGS) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from February 12 to 14, 2024, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) organized a roundtable themed “Shaping economic narratives: the role of press agencies». https://wam.ae/a/b1mleh0

On the occasion, the African Union of Broadcasting’s Director General, Grégoire Ndjaka stressed the need to guarantee the current capacities of news agencies and their willingness to cover and interact with emerging economic sectors such as green energy, crypto -currency and industries based on Artificial Intelligence. (Please see presentation below)


Dear Members of the Panel

I am most delighted to address this great gathering of government functionaries, international organizations, thought leaders, and private sector leaders from around the globe in this beautiful city of Dubai for the World Governments Summit 2024 with the theme: Shaping Future Governments.

 

As we deliberate on these topical areas of focus, I would like us all to ponder on a vital question: as representatives who hold the hopes, aspirations, and above all, interests of the people, how can the discussions and decisions reached in this auditorium get to the majority of the people in whose stead we are here?

The simple answer to this question, I dare say, is the media.

The roundtable clearly underscores the importance of the media in all development discourse. It underpins the capacity of the media to go beyond information sharing by mobilizing the people to take active and participatory roles in providing solutions to economic challenges and leveraging opportunities for development.

 

 

NEWS AGENCIES AS THE WORLD’S COMPASS


Before the advent of Internet, News agencies were reliable sources that provided newspapers and Governments with information about a wide variety of events around the world.

Founded in 1835 under the name HAVAS, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) is the world’s oldest news agency and maintains an unsurpassed reputation for the integrity and independence of its reporting. Then came America’s Associated Press in 1846, England’s Reuters in 1851, Russia’s Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS), in 1925.


Ladies and Gentemen

Before 1960, Western news agencies had a monopoly on information management. Nearly 80% of the content circulating in the world came from international news agencies. Only  20 to 30% of their content were devoted to developing countries. This created  a glaring imbalance in access to information. (The picture on the right is a clear illustration of the situation: Newspaper printed in 1956 in London for East African Readers, with the opinion of the West!)

 

 

IMBALANCE IN ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH

Through news frames and by deliberate editorial choices, international news agencies have reduced the global south, Africa in particular, to the level of perpetual negatives- regions from which only information about poverty, hunger, corruption, insecurity, conflicts and rustic livelihoods is shared. If it is not a negative story about an African country, it does not qualify as news for the international news agencies.


In 1962, Africa took stock of her underdevelopment in terms of information. When the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was created in 1963, a group of African experts alongside UNESCO established the Union of African News Agencies (UANA), in Tunis.

In December 1963, UANA held its first general assembly in Algiers. For more than one decade, the Union worked in collaboration with URTNA former AUB, before becoming the Pan-African News Agency.

 





RESPONSABILITIES  OF THE AUB

Despite these developments, Africans needed more (sounds & images) to tell  their own story. This responsibility and the understanding that news agencies, and indeed the media in general, have pivotal roles in shaping future economies via the peculiar developmental context of the African continent, serves as a push for the framing of our operations at the African Union of Broadcasting, AUB.

 

THEN CAME THE AUB’s CENTER OF CONTENT EXCHANGE.....

To achieve this task, the AUB established the content exchange centre in Algeria designed to promote an Africa that serves  as a catalyst of African integration.

The centre operates the AUBVision, a news and programmes content exchange platform developed to overcome stereotypes on Africa and projects the image of a continent on the move- indeed, the continent for the future.

 

AUBVISION, THE ANSWER.....

AUBVISION brings together African broadcasters and partners in order to contribute in improving the quality of life and portraying the real image of the continent. This illustrates our understanding of the crucial role of news agencies in fostering positive communication spaces to shape the economies of tomorrow which, I must say, depends a great deal on the resilience, vigour and innovativeness of Africa’s youthful population, natural resources and flourishing creative economy.


The AUB Content Exchange centre provides services in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic for African News rooms by providing political and economic information, coverage of major sporting events, local sports championships, and cultural activities including festivals, music, dance, tourism and other forms of entertainment. https://aws2.aubvision.com/


AUB's Platform of content - screenshot


SHAPING THE FUTURE

In the next 10 to 20 years, various trends across multiple domains will shape our world. One such trend is generative Artificial Intelligence, a transformative force with the potential to revolutionize technology. From regulation and ethical design to potential use-cases with global impact, this field offers immense value for governments and organizations alike.
The AUB recognizes this transformative force, its revolutionary potentials and the regulatory and ethical concerns surrounding its development. For this reason, the AUB will be organizing a Summit on Artificial Intelligence and Media to promote responsible use of AI in the African media space.

 

CONCLUSION

As I conclude, I wish to solicit your support and invite your excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen to Yaoundé, Cameroon from March 4 to 6 for this summit designed for broadcasters across the African continent and partners from other parts of the world.


I thank you for your attention!


UAE, Dubai, February 2024

AUB-UAR


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