Over 200 journalists, scholars and government officials are currently in Ouagadogou to brainstorm on challenges facing press freedom and freedom of expression in Africa.
The deliberations are under the auspices of the International Festival of Freedom of Expression and Press (FILEP) organised by the Norbert Zongo Press Centre (CNP-NZ).
The theme of this biennial FILEP meeting is “Feathers, microphones and cameras for a free and united Africa”.
At the event were representatives of media organisations, journalists, the African Federation of Houses and Press Centers (FACMP), media rights organisations, human rights defenders, and other media personalities.
The three-day event commenced on Wednesday with an official opening by the Burkina Faso Speaker of the House.
On the first day, a panel discussion titled, the Media and AU Agenda 2063, was handled by the Ministry of African Integration, Burkina Faso; a South African professor, Mathatha Tsedu, and Rassablaga Seydou Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso.
The journalists from multiple media houses across Africa took on the panellists on three topics: The Stakes of Agenda 2063; Which Media for Africa and Africa, a continent of the future: which future and for whom.
Immediately after the opening session, there was a Photos and Caricature Exhibition, that highlighted the rocky pathway the Burkina Faso press had transversed in its journey over the years despite multiple challenges facing its growth.
The day ended with a cocktail organised in honour of the visiting journalists by the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Christophe Dabire. At the event, Mr Dabire promised his guests that the visa procurement process for visitors outside ECOWAS would be made less stressful.
Many of the attendees had complained of the riotous process they passed through before they could enter the country to attend the event.
An international symposium on the theme of the festival with several sub-themes will constitute panels of debates with an inaugural speech by a professor, Théophile Obenga on Thursday.
There will be also be the projection of the film “Chameleon” followed by debates with the famous Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Anas.
There will also be a Gala Night where the Norbert Zongo Prize for best Investigative Reporting, Photo and Caricature Award will be handed out.
The week-long event is expected to end with a visit to the tomb of Norbert Zongo, a Tourist Excursion to LAONGO granite site and a closing concert with African musical maestros, Didier Awadi, Ismo Vitalo, Nourat and Almamy KJ.
The Investigative Prize is an award of excellence to reward the best works of investigative journalism in Africa.
The prize is open to all the professional working journalists in Africa or journalists collaborating with the African press.
The stories selected by the organisers were published or broadcast between May 3, 2017, and May 3, 2019.
The prize was initiated in honour of a journalist, Norbert Zongo, who was killed while conducting an investigation into the unresolved death of David Ouédraogo, driver of François Compaoré, the younger brother of President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso.