Africa Urged to Establish One News Agency

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Two Egyptian officials who addressed a forum of over 40 African journalists in an ongoing seminar in Cairo have called for the establishment of the Africa News Agency (ANA) to enhance dissemination of balanced information about the continent.

Red Sea Governor, Rtd. Major/General Ahmed Abdallah said an agency will concretize Pan Africanism and do away with the continent’s journalists downloading foreign news articles with satellite images, as well as quoting “imbalanced news” from foreign news agencies.

Supporting the establishment of the Africa News Agency (ANA) is Mr. Gamal Eneyet, an Egyptian freelance journalist, who made his presentation on Sunday May 8.

On the topic, “The Importance of Cooperation and Coordination between African countries,” Mr. Eneyet observed that many satellite news agencies over
Egypt only focus on reporting the negative rather than the positive actions of the country to promote African unity and the countries’ development agendas.

“It is because of these negative reporting we have suggested future plans to find a solution through the establishment of an agreeable single website for Africa to have balanced reporting on politics, sports, music, etc, concerning the continent,” he added.

The two Egyptians are of the strong opinion that establishing the African News Agency or a news webpage would enable journalists in Africa to effectively report news about Africa.

According to them, Egypt runs one of the best news agencies – the Middle East News Agency (MENA) – in the world.

MENA was established on December 15, 1955, as a joint stock company owned by Egyptian press establishments with a capital which at the time did not exceed 20, 000 Egyptian Pounds (about US$25,000). A few months later, the government contributed half of that sum.

However, on February 8, 1956, the Egyptian Cabinet took a decision to establish the agency and on February 28, it began to distribute its first bulletin to the rest of Africa and beyond the Arab world.

The service, according to Eneyet, continued until April 16, 1956, when MENA began to transmit its service on Tickers as the first regional news agency in the entire Middle East.

“This is the exact thing we want the perceived Africa News Agency to get involved with, because MENA, through a series of developments, secured a mega-leap in 1996 when it began transmission via three satellites, covering Africa, Asia, Europe and South and North America. MENA now uses computers in editing and transmitting news through satellites instead of the Tickers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Abdallah yesterday hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting African journalists, a gesture he described as “African brotherhood.”

Among other lecturers at the ongoing month-long seminar are Dr. Sami Addellaziz, Ambassador Hazem Fahmy, Dr. Mai Batran, and a young female parliamentarian, who holds a doctorate degree in Pharmacology. She is also an international expert on training.

The training is organized by the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) and has up to date, covered topics such as: “Tourist Marketing—Broadcaster as a Tool for Building Intellectual Images of Countries and Nations”; “Media and Terrorism Struggle”; “The Importance of Cooperation and Coordination between African Countries”.

The visiting journalists have toured areas such as the historic Pyramids, Egypt’s media studies center in Cairo, Tahrir Square, as well as the Red Sea region.

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