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Makerere journalism department tapped to co-host world press freedom day conference

Dr. William Tayeebwa, Ph.D., Head, Department of Journalism and Communication. UNESCO has selected Mak-DJC to co-host world press freedom day conference. (PHOTO/FILE)

KAMPALA – The Makerere University Department of Journalism and Communication (Mak-DJC) has been selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to host the 2019 World Press Freedom day academic conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The main celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2019 will take place in Addis Ababa, from 1 to 4 May 2019.

The event to be co-hosted by the Department of Journalism and Communication Makerere will provide a platform for multiple actors to exchange on current issues, threats and achievements concerning freedom of the press.

Also selected were three other universities (Sheffield in the United Kingdom, OsloMet in Norway, and Malaga in Spain)

For over a decade, Mak-DJC has been a “UNESCO Centre of Excellence in Journalism Training in Africa”.

In that capacity, Dr. William Tayeebwa, head, Department of Journalism and Communication said Mak-DJC has conducted commissioned studies for UNESCO on a host of topics using the agency’s ‘Media Development Indicators’ including the safety of journalists, freedom of expression and of the media, training standards for journalists among others.

“We shall chair one of the sessions on the impact of internet shutdowns on governance and justice,” he noted.

The events taking place at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will attract many stakeholders in global media development.

“We are honored to represent the entire African continent and fly high the Makerere flag,” Dr. Tayeebwa said in a brief statement.

The overall theme of the event will be the role of media in elections and democracy. A wide range of sessions (plenaries, debates, lightning talks,) will address different aspects of the overall theme.

Some 100 national events around the world are expected to complement the main celebration.

The attendance of the UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, as well as of high-level government representatives is expected.

Participants will also include representatives of civil society, media organizations, professional associations, academia and the judiciary.

On 2 May, the UNESCO Director-General will award the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence of press freedom.

The event will also host an academic conference on the safety of journalists which will allow researchers from different disciplines to share and discuss recent research.

This will be the fourth edition of the conference, aimed at bridging the gap between academic research, policy-making and journalism.

As in the previous years, WPFD will host a Youth Newsroom, which will bring on board young journalists and journalism students to cover the event and expand their reporting skills.

A number of cultural events and performances will be included in the programme.

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