Event Reports

A Change of Perspectives

Study and dialogue programme about the relationship between media and politics in Germany

The relationship between the media and political parties in Sub-Saharan Africa is often strained and at worst dysfunctional. This is what motivated KAS Media Africa to generate a dialogue on how this relationship can be professionalised for the benefit of both target groups and the public. In mid-June a group of eleven young journalists and party officials spent a week in the German capital of Berlin undertaking an intensive study and dialogue programme aimed at illuminating the relationship between media and politics in Germany.

The week-long programme included discussions with key politicians, media professionals and Africa-focused industry players as well as visits to media outlets, training academies, government and party buildings and historical memorials and museums. Highlights of the trip were visits to the German public broadcaster ZDF’s TV studio, the governing party CDU’s Headquarters, the Federal Press Office, the Berlin House of Representatives and the Reichstag building. High profile individuals brought in for dialogue sessions included the Deputy Spokesperson of the Federal Government of Germany Mr. Georg Streiter, SHZ news columnist Thomas Habicht, and young Member of Berlin House of Representatives Danny Freymark.

The programme participants made use of the efficient Berlin public transport throughout the week and learned about the fascinating and often painful German history through visits to the House of Wannsee Conference in commemoration of the Jewish holocaust, the stasi-era prison Berlin-Hohenschönhausen and the Berlin Wall memorial. They were able to form a good impression of the work of KAS and attended the annual “Tag der KAS” garden party at the Foundation’s headquarters.

The journalists and young politicians or communicators from political parties represent two key stakeholder groups for the work of the KAS Media Programme. The journalist participants, from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia are young journalists who are alumni or current students of the KAS Media Africa scholarship programme where they are supported for one academic year to complete a mid-career post-graduate degree at the Journalism Department of Wits University in Johannesburg.

The political officials were drawn from another key KAS Media Africa initiative, the E-lection Bridge Academy, a mix of workshops and e-learning activities aimed at coaching the young party officials in media and communication processes. The political-oriented participants represented Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The combination of enlightening historical perspectives and personal interactions with both the German experts and within the group, ensured a highly informative and rewarding experience for all.

Contact

Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

Director Media Programme Subsahara Africa

christoph.plate@kas.de +27 (11) 214 2900-101 +27 11 214 2913