AMI initiated an industry-led process that intends to anchor leadership and ethics at the heart of African media by advocating and creating a Leadership and Guiding Principles for African Media Owners and Operators.

Read the Leadership and Guiding Principles for African Media Owners and Managers

Background of Leadership and Guiding Principles

Lack of ethics and leadership has been at the center of the reasons given by many who want to curtail the development of a free and independent African media landscape. To tackle this core constraint and set the basis for greater transparency and improved standards within the sector, AMI initiated an industry-led process that intends to anchor leadership and ethics at the heart of African media by advocating and creating a Leadership and Guiding Principles for African Media Owners and Operators.

A high level-working group composed by a group of eminent professionals was set up to draft and promote the principles in close consultation with the Media Owners Association of Kenya (MOAK) and the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT). Its members are Dr. Christopher Kolade, pro-Chancellor of the Pan-African University in Lagos and lecturer on Ethics, Leadership and Governance in Media (chair of the group), Prof Guy Berger former Rhodes University lecturer now Director Freedom of Expression & Media Development at UNESCO, Wangethi Mwangi, former editorial director of the Nation Media Group, Amadou Kanoute, Lead Consultant at WAN-IFRA on the Declaration of Table Mountain and Amadou Mahtar Ba, AMI CEO.

The LGP was endorsed by the African Media Leaders Forum in Tunis on November 12, 2011

Foreword: Why the leadership principles and guidelines

The proposed guidelines are about building an enhanced ethical culture within and at the top echelons of media management and are part of the African Media Initiative’s mandate to foster a culture of transparency, good governance and accountability.

They are intended to media leaders a guide to ethical decision-making in the same way their internal codes of ethics do for all employees.

Additionally, they are intended to as a model to employees and demonstrate commitment from the top regarding ethical behavior and decision-making.

They also guide media owners and managers in maintaining a focus on ethical, social, and environmental responsibilities that come with doing business.

In summary, and to borrow from the King’s Report on Corporate Governance 2002¹ ,philosophy of the guidelines revolves around leadership, sustainability and corporate citizenship. They place the onus on leaders to define strategy, provide direction and establish the ethics and values that will influence and guide practices and behavior within their media institutions.

Given the challenges currently facing the media sector not just in Africa but also globally, a widely publicized, endorsed and effectively applied and enforced set of ethical principles would result in the following benefits:

  1. Public affirmation of the sector’s bona fides as independent media enterprises which have unique and extensive value for any society;
  2. Help with self-assessment;
  3. Building a community of best practice peers;
  4. Enhancement of performance and credibility;
  5. Enhancement of public trust and confidence;
  6. Defence against illegitimate pressures;
  7. Enhanced access to investment and other resource support;
  8. More conducive workplace and greater effectiveness in enterprises.

Official Launch in Tanzania – 3rd May 2012

On May 3rd 2012, World Press Freedom Day, AMI in collaboration with the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT) officially signed and launched the LGP in Dar Es Salaam.

LGP Tanzania Launch and Signing, 3rd May 2012 – From L-R: Reginald Mengi, Chairman, Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Emmanuel John Nchimbi, Minister of Information and Communication and Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO, African Media Initiative (AMI)

Regional Workshop for West Africa – 23/24 August 2012

LGP was launched and signed in Francophone West Africa (Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and Guinea Conakry) at a two day workshop on ‘Leadership and Good Governance in Media’ held in the capital city of Burkina Faso on the 23 and 24th of August 2012. The event was attended by 55 media proprietors and managers, heading media owners & editors associations in their respective countries. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the ‘Institut pour la Democratie et l’Education aux Medias’ (IDEM) – AMI’s strategic partner in Francophone West Africa. Commitment to localise and implement the LGP was strong and AMI is currently providing the necessary institutional support.

West Africa Regional Workshop on Leadership and Governance in the Media, 23-24 August 2012, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Official signing of the LGP

National Workshop in Rwanda – 8 May 2013

A national workshop on ‘Leadership and Good Governance for Media Houses’ was organised in Kigali, Rwanda in collaboration with the Media High Council, Rwanda and fesmedia Africa. Over 60 media operators, editors in chief and senior journalists attended the event.

Opening Ceremony of National Workshop, Rwanda

A view of participants 

Regional Workshop for Central Africa – 9/10 July 2013

In collaboration with the ‘Forum des Responsables des Medias de l’Afrique Centrale (FREMAC), AMI organized a regional workshop on the LGP in Bujumbura, Burundi. 60 participants from Chad, Gabon, Sao Tome, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Central Republic of Africa, Cameroon, Equilateral Guinee, Burundi and Rwanda attended.

During the regional LGP workshop, the opportunity was seized by AMI, in collaboration with the African Editors Forum and FREMAC, to meet the Burundi Minister of Information and Communication – Mrs Nihazi and express appreciation of the liberation of journalist Hasan Ruvakuki. The delegation also encouraged the Minister to work with the local media to improve the draconian media laws recently adopted by the parliament.  The meeting was very constructive and reassurances were given to the delegation that the Government of Burundi would privilege dialogue and engagement with the media.

A view of some of the participants from the 10 Central African countries

Certificate of Participation to one of the participants by AMI’s CEO

So far the So far, the LGP has been translated in 4 languages: French, Swahili, Amharic and Kinyarwanda.


Regional Workshop for the Indian Ocean Islands – 2/3 May 2014

AMI in collaboration with UNESCO held a two day regional workshop in Mauritius on ‘Leadership, Good Governance and Professionalism: Building Sustainable and Credible Media Houses’.

Some 45 media owners, editors in chief and senior journalists from Seychelles, Madagascar, Comores and Mauritius participated in the workshop. Key issues and challenges facing the media where discussed and the need to develop deeper and lasting collaboration between media houses within the Indian Ocean islands as well as from the continent were discussed. The workshop also celebrated World Press Freedom Day and emphasised the need to put ethical leadership at the centre of the all discussion involving the media.

Group Photo of the Delegates

AMI’s CEO Welcome Remarks

Signing of the LGP by a Delegate from Madagascar


Regional Workshop for the Southern Africa Countries – 4/5 June 2014

AMI and Fesmedia Africa organised a two day regional workshop in Johannesburg on ‘Integrity and Corruption in the Media’.

During two days, media leaders and editors in chief from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Malawi discussed on some of the key challenges in ensuring a corrupt free and ethically driven media leadership. Discussions also centred on making practical use of the arsenal of self regulatory mechanisms such as voluntary media codes, public ombudsmen, the Leadership Guiding Principles for African Media Owners and Managers (LGP) to ensure that the media establishes the necessary tools of control and monitoring.Trevor Ncube, Deputy Executive Chairman of the Mail & Guardian and AMI Board Chair made the keynote address.

Panelists in full discussion


Keynote address by Chair of AMI and Deputy Executive Director of Mail & Guardian – Trevor Ncube

Panelist Joseph Warungu – Director of Content AMI and Editor of The African Story Challenge (TASC)

Franz Kruger from Wits University and the Mail & Guardian Ombudsman