Gender, media freedom and access to information

Date: August 5, 2011
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On 3 May 2011, the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day. For Africa, the 2011 celebration is special as it marks 20 years of the Windhoek Declaration. However, there can be no press freedom in Africa until women’s voices are equally heard in the media. The questions arising are: has the Windhoek Declaration enhanced media ownership by women? Are women’s voices represented in the media? What are the lessons learned over the last 20 years? What can Africa do going forward?

In addition, the Windhoek+20 campaign is advocating a declaration that can make a difference to information access. Access to information is linked to the public’s right to know. But who is the public? Access to information debates should therefore take into consideration the gender dimensions of the issue, in particular the importance of providing women who constitute 52% of the population in the region. The first seminar in South Africa will be held on 16 August 2011 in Johannesburg and media practitioners will discuss how gender can be put on the media freedom agenda as well as debates on access to information. This seminar is part of a series to be held in the region between May and September 2011.

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