Nairobi, 10 October, 2016 — The African Media Initiative (AMI) will work with Spain’s Casa Africa to strengthen relations between Spanish and African media. This was agreed on during an inaugural meeting this week in Madrid of media leaders from Spain and Africa, and senior officials of the Spanish government.
The gathering, convened by Casa Africa, the Canary Island-based department of the Spanish Foreign Ministry responsible for relations with Africa, discussed a range of subjects, including an overview of media in Africa, the coverage of Africa in Spanish media, and culture as a tool for eradicating stereotypes. The Director General of Casa Africa, Luis Padron, stressed the important role that media had to play in strengthening knowledge and understanding of Africa in Spain and vice versa.
“We have a chance here to help structure those conversations that will shape opinion in Spain and Africa, and contribute to a better appreciation of each other’s reality,” said Eric Chinje, AMI’s Chief Executive Officer, upon his return to Nairobi from Madrid. Spain, he said, is one of a growing list of players that is looking for a foothold in the African media market and it is praiseworthy that is it seeking to do so in partnership with media professionals on the continent
The Madrid seminar, attended by more than 300 media leaders, field based correspondents, diplomats, government officials, and university lecturers as well as students, reflected on the current coverage of Africa by Spanish media and on how this could be improved. At a time of growing interest in Africa, the gathering was told, Spanish media, as a relatively new player on the continent, had an opportunity to provide leadership and project a more realistic Africa to its readers and audiences. “Africa realism” became a catch-phrase that pervaded the conference deliberations.