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  • on 20.04.2015
  • at 10:19 AM
  • by Kevin Hind

VITA joins forces with Africa Great Lakes’ Medias 0

Bruxelles – The editorial group VITA has signed a three-year agreement with Panos Grands Lacs Institute for the production of current affairs content and in-depth analysis for Infos Grands Lacs, a network of 16 Burundian, Rwandan and Congolese media organisations.

Following the recent project on Ebola, carried out jointly with a number of Guinean radio stations and in line with the strategic partnership launched in 2010 with the African media groups, Vita is pleased to announce a three-year agreement signed with the Panos Grands Lacs Institute (IPGL).

The IPGL is an association established in 2014 with the objective of reinforcing media pluralism in Rwanda, Burundi and in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as supporting access to independent information.

From its office/headquarters in Brussels, Vita will produce, on behalf of Infos Grands Lacs3, IPGL’s news agency, articles and in depth analysis on current affairs, mainly through interviews, thus adding to the local information an international European and African angle. The main issues for the Great Lakes region, through the distinguished voices of high level politicians, international organizations’ representatives as well as civil society organizations and more, will be covered.

“Africa is a continent that we have been following closely for over 15 years,” said Riccardo Bonacina, President of the Italian non-profit editorial group noted.

“The production and dissemination of information from Europe through the independent media in Africa responds to the need of having to relate to Africa in a different way compared to the past. Today, many Western media, as well as others, look more and more to what is considered the ‘continent of the future’, producing content that is too often re-used by African media who lack the financial and human resources necessary to cover the challenges the continent faces in the global context.”

The Panos Grands Lacs Institute and VITA decided to take a different path, by sharing an international desk in Brussels that will produce information in line with the editorial requirements of the Info Grands Lacs agency. “

“It is no longer enough to talk about our region only through content produced regionally,” says Cyprien Ndikumana, regional coordinator of the IGL3 project.

“Globalization generated the need of covering the Great Lakes with an external look, but in line with our editorial guidelines. Today IGL3 agency has a correspondent in Brussels, an added value of great importance to our network.

IGL3 brings together the most important independent media from Burundi, the DRC and Rwanda. They range from national radio-TV stations like Radio Publique Africaine (Burundi), Radio Télévision du Groupe L’Avenir (DRC), Radio Isango or TV10 (Rwanda) to medium sized, provincial medias such as Radio Maendeleo in South Kivu.

What is Panos Grands Lacs?

The Panos Grands Lacs Institute (IPGL) was established in Bujumbura in March 2014 by media representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and from Rwanda.

Although young, the association has strong experience in the management of projects concerning media development in the Great Lakes region.

IPGL is the result of a gradual process, undertaken in 2009, which led the organisation to become independent from Panos Europe Institute (former Panos Paris).

The IGL aims to promote peace, progress and development in the region, through promoting media pluralism, supporting access to independent, diversified and responsible information, as well as contributing to people’s freedom of expression.

IGL3 project

But there is still a long way to go to transform the African Great Lakes into a zone of peace, security and stability. In the last 20 years, the region has seen civil wars and violence, which has resulted in millions of people suffering extreme poverty.

Violations of human rights, as well bad governance, remain widespread.

But there are positive signals as well.

In a survey of 42 African countries conducted by the New York Forum Institute in 2014, which aimed to draw a picture of young people’s perceptions about the future of their continent, Rwanda, already known for the socio-economic progress recorded after the 1994 genocide, was one of the countries in which many of the young people interviewed would like to live.

With both challenges and opportunities, the next three years will be marked by elections that will determine the future of the region. It is not a coincidence that the IGL3 project, which will last three years (from 2015 to 2017) is held in conjunction with the upcoming elections in in Burundi, followed by elections in the DRC in 2016 and Rwanda in 2017.

Thanks to funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, IGL3 aims to strengthen and consolidate the democratic process in the region, highlighting the work of the media in the three countries and opening a new window of opportunity for the promotion of freedom of expression.

Sixteen of the most influential media organisations found in the three countries involved are ready to take up the challenge and to professionalize, in a journalistic as well as economic sense.

They thus engage to provide their audience with content that is more professional and more respectful of international standards of conduct content on issues ranging from human rights to good governance, security, development, environment, regional integration, to migration.

By Joshua Massarenti – Afronline.org

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