Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan will on May 3 open the 2022 World Press Freedom Day conference in Arusha convened by the Eastern Africa Editors Society (EAES), organisers have confirmed.
The World Press Freedom Day is marked annually worldwide.
This year’s theme is “Journalism Under Digital Siege”.
At the conference in Arusha, discussions will focus on media freedoms in the region, safety issues concerning journalists, and the advancement of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) as part of an African media evolution.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the subject of media viability in digital times as a route to resilience and the effects that privacy, online surveillance and hacking have on public trust in journalism.
According to Deodatus Balile, chairman of Tanzania Editors Forum, which is among the organisers, President Samia’s opening address will form a launchpad for frank discussions on journalism and freedom of expression for sustainable development, as well as digital advancement and associated challenges to gender equality and women’s empowerment in public media and information delivery.
“We look forward to hearing from her on how she intends to deepen access to information and media freedoms in Tanzania and challenge other African countries to see media as an important part of growing our democracy,” Mr Balile said.
EAES Chairman Churchill Otieno, who is also the president of the Kenya Editors Guild, said the “symbolism with which this convention is being held should send a clear message that the media industry will not sit back as its gains are being eroded through and by digital platforms.”
“We will build solidarity, learn, advocate and advance for the space to be as free as it should to ensure we can continue to hold governments to account; [and] educate, inform and entertain the public,” Mr Otieno said.
The EAES is an umbrella body for editor organisations in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.