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EAC media councils launch umbrella organisation

EAC media councils launch umbrella organisation

MEDIA councils operating in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania have launched their umbrella organisation, the East African Press Councils' Association (EAPCA), whose draft constitution has just been endorsed.

Tanzania temporarily chairs the body through Media Council (MCT) Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga, who said during a virtual meeting coordinated from Arusha that the association would be registered in Nairobi.

"Kenya has volunteered to not only undertake the registration process, but also the country is providing an interim secretariat office to the East African Press Councils’ Association," said Mr Mukajanga after the virtual constitutional meeting, which he chaired from Arusha.

Mr David Kyetume Kasanga, Secretary of the Media Council of Uganda is the interim Vice- Chairperson of the EAPCA, while Mr David Omollo from the Media Council of Kenya serves as the provisional Secretary of EAPCA and Mr Emmanuel Mugisha of the Rwanda Media Council as Acting Treasurer.

EAPCA is made up of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Mr Mukajanga revealed that they intended to later welcome the remaining two member states of the East African Community (EAC), Burundi and South Sudan.

EAPCA will cover all media councils, press councils and similar bodies in the region, including institutions and bodies by whatever name they may be called and howsoever they may be formed to provide for co-regulatory and self-regulatory mechanisms for the media, print, broadcast or online.

Tasks for the association, according to the interim chair, include promoting and protecting free, independent, professional and responsible media in East Africa, strengthening and promoting the institution of independent media regulatory bodies in the region and creating awareness and promoting the concept of self-regulation through press councils as a viable option of holding the media accountable in the region.

EAPCA will also create a forum through which media regulatory bodies may share experiences and exchange information on emerging issues in media regulation to seek and raise finance, as appropriate, to sustain and promote these objects and to undertake all activities as may be determined from time to time in pursuance of these objects of the association.

All media regulatory bodies in the region that adhere to the objectives of the association can be a member to the association, but membership will be subject to the approval of the executive council. If the executive council rejects a request for membership, the decision of the general assembly on that matter will be final.

Individuals or institutions that are or have been associated with media regulations may be invited by the executive council to become associate members of the association. Such members will have no voting rights.

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Author:  YASINT AMOS, Arusha

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