Preparations for regional conference of media professionals and scholars begin

DAR ES SALAAM: THE School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) has commenced preparations for the upcoming 14th East African Communication Association Conference (EACA).

The forum, touted as the largest gathering of media professionals and scholars in the region, is scheduled to take place from August 28th to 30th this year, with participation expected from over 12 countries, both within and outside Africa.

With logistical arrangements underway to accommodate over 300 participants, anticipation is high for the event, poised to showcase cutting-edge research and industry insights.

SJMC Dean, Dr Mona Mwakalinga told reporters in Dar es Salaam on Sunday that the forum would attract scholars, journalists, government officials, and representatives from the private sector across African countries and beyond.

“More than 300 academicians and media professionals, including journalists, media owners, and government officials from around the globe, are expected to grace this prestigious conference,” Dr Mwakalinga informed the media.

She elaborated that the conference will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and paper presentations, all aimed at exploring the diverse roles of communication and media in Africa’s development within the global context.

Additionally, Dr Mwakalinga highlighted the benefits of attending EACA, emphasising the networking opportunities it provides for participants to connect with peers, experts, and potential collaborators from various disciplines.

Furthermore, Dr Mwakalinga emphasised the conference’s role in enhancing visibility and recognition for participants, especially those expecting to present their research.

The coordinator of the forum, Dr Egbert Mkoko echoed Dr Mwakalinga’s sentiments on the forum’s expected impact, stating that EACA would contribute to marketing Tanzania’s and Africa’s tourism. Applications have already been received from countries outside Africa, including Germany, Sweden, and Norway.

Dr Mkoko further disclosed that apart from the main theme, “Africa and Global Dialogue on Communication and Media,” the conference will feature 12 sub-themes, including the role of the Kiswahili language in the African continent.

He noted the interest shown by two South Africans who submitted abstracts on the Kiswahili subtheme, expressing optimism about making Kiswahili a language of Africa. Similar conferences have been held in Tanzania before, such as the one in 2013 at St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT).

Regarding increasing participation in the conference, Dr Mkoko highlighted that they prefer to use journalists or media due to their influential role in society and because the forum is directly relevant to them.

He also mentioned that other topics directly affecting the journalism profession, such as the decline in investigative journalism and the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on the industry, will be discussed.

The criteria for abstract submissions include areas hinted at in the main theme and sub-themes of the forum, ensuring that submissions align with the conference’s objectives.

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