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KAS Media Africa Conference on Media and Insurgency Held on the Historical Island of Gorée, Dakar

Senior Media Practitioners Meet to Discuss the Position and Role of the Media in the Conversation about Insurgency

In March 2023, KAS Media returned to Gorée Island to host a conference about the threat of terrorism on the African continent and the role of the fourth estate in covering the apparent increase of insurgency in various regions. 10 senior journalists from countries including Kenya, South Africa, Mali, Senegal and Nigeria gathered to share the experiences of their particular communities and the way in which media covers insurgency.

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One of the key questions raised, was whether African governments are prepared to properly address the threat of increasing terrorist attacks on the continent. The discussion on the transnational nature of terrorism gave insight on how parts of Africa, such as the Sahel and West African states that have seen increased terrorism activities, can begin to consider reacting and being pro-active in protecting their citizens. Taiwo Adebayo, the Head of Investigations and Data at the Nigerian Premium Times, spoke of the growing necessity of international collaboration to cover terrorist events. 

The issue of capacity of journalists when reporting on such events was also discussed at length. Offering a South African perspective, Simon Allison, Editor of the Pan-African digital weekly, The Continent, stated that “South Africa’s journalists are still not well prepared to cover terrorist stories, should the threat of terrorism reach its boarders.”Participants also deliberated the challenges of journalists reporting about these events and acquiring accurate and reliable sources of information. 

Colonel Jean Slyvestre Biagui of the Centre des Hautes Études de Défense et de Sécurité (CHEDS) in Dakar, highlighted the need for Africa to “change the perception of security”, by redefining the security measures of African states and their response to insurgency.

KAS Media Africa director, Christoph Plate, drew the comparison of the failing state of Somalia that he reported on about 30 years ago to some contemporary states on the African continent and stated “we don’t want to have more Somalias.” Somali journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin who was supposed to speak at the conference at Gorée Institute was barred from attending, as the Somali authorities arrested him days before his departure to Dakar. Plate, who has worked and travelled with him, spoke about Mumin’s work and commitment to journalism, be it under terrorist threat or under accusations by the state in Somalia.

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Christoph Plate

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Leiter des Medienprogramms Südosteuropa +359 2 942-4971 +359 2 94249-79


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