Africa Film WebMeeting

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About: FW: Media freedom Video

Tue, 24 Mar 1998 07:44:19 -0800 (PST)

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    Originally from: <>
    Originally dated: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 07:44:19 -0800 (PST)

    > Here is a synopsis of a 26 minute video that has been commissioned by
    > the
    > Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) for World Press Freedom Day
    > May 3, 1998.
    > MISA is organising showings for civil society representatives and
    > decision
    > makers in most southern African countries, coordinated by our
    > national
    > MISA
    > offices. We are also asking national broadcasters to show the video
    > as
    > part
    > of their recognition of world press freedom day.
    > If anyone would like to organise a showing the video, in southern
    > Africa or
    > elsewhere, as a sign of solidarity with the region on this important
    > day
    > (World Press Freedom Day was declared by the United nations in
    > commemeration of the Windhoek Declaration on promoting an independent
    > and
    > pluralistic African press), please contact myself or Bright Mwape,
    > Regional
    > Information Co-ordinator, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA),
    > Private Bag 13386
    > Windhoek, Namibia, Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016, e-mail:
    > Broadcasting and other campaign materials will also be available.
    > Synopsis
    > The idea:
    > A young journalist is given an assignment by her newspaper editor:
    > "Write an article on World Press Freedom day by 3. May."
    > Short drama sequences set the framework of the film, and introduce
    > the
    > documentary elements which have been commissioned from film crews and
    > reporters from around the MISA region of 11 southern African
    > countries.
    > The film producers have set the action in the offices of a local
    > newspaper,
    > where the reporter is an actress, but the stories she finds are all
    > too
    > real. The internet becomes a window into a world which she discovers.
    > Information is there - the Windhoek Declaration of 1991, which calls
    > for a
    > free, independent and pluralistic press. Interviews can be called up
    > with
    > journalists in the print and broadcast media throughout southern
    > Africa.
    > These become full screen television pictures. The audience is brought
    > into
    > contact with people and stories around the region, and learns that
    > the
    > press is a vital, but fragile element in a democratic society.
    > Reports include the murder of Ricardo de Mello, assassinated in
    > Angola
    > in
    > 1995. Press harrassment and censorship become issues in the film,
    > which
    > describes the banning of the Post newspaper in Zambia and the
    > imprisonment
    > of its editor, who makes a spirited defence of his journalism.
    > But it is not only the press which faces restrictions. Blatant
    > government
    > censorship of the television news in Swaziland opens the debate about
    > who
    > owns and controls the media in southern Africa. Are private ownership
    > and
    > pluralism the same thing? Not if powerful individuals own whole
    > groups
    > of
    > newspapers, and radio and television stations, too.
    > The media is under threat. According to some, it is irresponsible,
    > unpatriotic, and sensationalist. It must be controlled. Some see
    > media
    > councils and licensing as necessary reforms, others say they are
    > attempts
    > to gag journalists. The film reflects the debate.
    > This is not the reporter's only assignment. One day she is personally
    > confronted with a story based on a source who wishes to remain
    > anonymous.
    > For her, press freedom assumes a personal significance.
    > The film is a voyage of discovery, whereby the journalist - and the
    > audience - learn why press freedom is important to everybody.
    > Director: Steve Felton
    > Production company: Mubasen
    > John Barker, Regional Programme
    > Coordinator (Broadcasting)
    > Media Institute of Southern Africa
    > Private Bag 13386,
    > 21 Johann Albrecht Street
    > Windhoek, NAMIBIA
    > Tel: +264 61 232975 Fax +264 61 248016
    > E-mail
    > **********************************
    > * *
    > **********************************

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