N’Guessan François M’BRA II
Côte d’Ivoire took part in the second edition of the International Conference on Local Journalism, from January 28 to February 3, 2023. The only French-speaking country invited to this high-level meeting, Côte d’Ivoire was represented by François M’Bra II, journalist, consultant, specialist in local development issues.
1st vice-president of the Ecowas Network of Journalists Specializing in Agricultural Issues (Reja-Ecowas), François M’Bra II shared the Ivorian experience with his non-French-speaking peers at this conference organized by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Kas) Media.
The event, which aims to examine local journalism in general and local radio stations in particular and their contribution to development, also aims to enable the exchange and implementation of good practices.
Local and digital journalism, innovations in local radio editorial, the future of local radio in a context of exploding news on social networks, the presentation of new local media in South Africa and Kenya, are all issues addressed by English-speaking journalists and media managers.
The representative of Côte d’Ivoire, sharing his experience on the contribution of local journalism to development, focused on the Gbêkê region (central part of the country).
François M’Bra II highlighted the active involvement of journalists in general and in particular those from local radio stations in the fight against Covid-19 through the ‘‘Association des radios de Gbetkê’’, member of the ‘‘Radio Santé’’ platform.
But also the Union of Journalists of Bouaké (Ujb) and the National Union of Correspondent Journalists of Côte d’Ivoire (Unajcop-CI), with more than 250 members, spread throughout the country.
Local journalist: last chance for community development
Focusing on his theme, “Local Radio Journalism, Last Chance?”, François M’Bra II – also a specialist in local development issues – recounted the various initiatives put in place by local radio stations in the development process in different regions of the country.
“Local radio stations have played a key role in the return of Peace in Côte d’Ivoire and its repositioning on the sub-regional and international scene. Because they have always been at the heart of major events aimed at contributing to the development of our regions,” he said.
According to the representative of Côte d’Ivoire, “in Bouaké, radio officials, journalists and broadcastors have always been there when it comes to contributing to the well-being of the populations. It is the right place to call on the Ivorian government, foundations, NGOs and other international organizations to help journalists’ organizations in general and local radio stations in particular by providing funding,” he argued.
For Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Kas)’s Africa Media Program Director Christoph Plate, radio local journalism can and should be the last chance. To achieve this goal, journalists must fully serve communities and work in strict ethical and ethical ways, he says.
Côte d’Ivoire is represented for the second time after its first participation in 2022 in Lilongwe, Malawi.