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IFEX members meet in Ghana to discuss regional networking in Africa

Representatives of freedom of expression organisations in Africa that are members of the Toronto-based global network, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), met in Accra, Ghana, on December 9 and 10, 2013 to develop a framework for regional networking in Africa.

Hosted by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) with support from IFEX, the meeting was attended by six out of the nine African members of IFEX, while one other organization participated remotely, via Skype. The meeting was facilitated by Mr. Luckson Chipare, former Regional Director of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) who has also previously served as IFEX Convenor (Chair).

Following two days of deliberations, the meeting decided as follows:

• To establish a regional network to be known as the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX).
• Members of the network shall be member organizations of IFEX, which are autonomous organizations and have their headquarters located in any country in sub-Saharan Africa. Membership rights, benefits, duties and obligations shall be outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding which all members of the network shall subscribe to and endorse.
• The vision of the network is an Africa where all peoples are free to express themselves.
• The mission of the network is to increase the effectiveness of IFEX members in addressing freedom of expression challenges in Africa. Such challenges include laws and policies, traditions, customs, absence of capacity arising from ignorance, poverty and lack of access to technology and security.
• Based on criteria agreed upon at the meeting, the MFWA shall serve as the secretariat of the network. A hosting agreement shall be developed and agreed upon between the network and its host organization to define roles and responsibilities as well as to guide the relationship.
• The strategies to be adopted by the network in addressing freedom of expression challenges on the continent would include outreach, systematic sharing of information, joint campaigns,capacity enhancement activities, sustainability plans and programmes as well as research and surveys.

The meeting identified specific activities which it will carry out over the first six months of its existence and decided to develop a more elaborate plan of action for activities in the short and longer term.

The participating organizations expressed gratitude to IFEX for its financial support to convene the meeting; to the MFWA for hosting the meeting; and to Mr. Luckson Chipare for facilitating the process.

Issued in Accra this 10th day of December 2013.

List of Participating Organizations:

• Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Accra, Ghana
• Mr. Sulemana Braimah, Deputy Executive Director, Media Foundation for West Africa. Mr. Sulemana Braimah, Deputy Executive Director, Media Foundation for West Africa.
• Ms Abigail Larbi, Programme Officer, Media Development and Capacity-Building, Media Foundation for West Africa.
• Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Lagos, Nigeria.
• Moses Magoola Ian Healy, Capacity-Building and Institutional Growth, Programme Officer, Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), Kampala, Uganda.
• Gilbert Sendugwa, Coordinator and Head of Secretariat, Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), Kampala, Uganda.
• Zoé Titus, Regional Director, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Windhoek, Namibia.
• Tuverekwevyo Muhindo Tuver Wundi, Correspondent, Journaliste en Danger (JED-NK), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
• Tennen Dalieh, Programme Officer, Center for Media Studies and Peace-Building, Monrovia, Liberia (participated remotely, via Skype).

Africa Freedom of Information Centre
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda
Journaliste en danger
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda

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