BRUSSELS, Belgium -- On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2014, the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, together with the European Press Clubs Office in Brussels, underlined the importance of free, independent pluralistic media as a cornerstone of an effective democracy and resilient nation-building.
“The press and media have an enormous capacity to enhance national development by fostering transparency in public affairs, holding governments accountable to the people, keeping the public informed and educated on key issues, and promoting development and national progress. ACP countries need to support and invest in their journalists so that they are able to produce quality, thorough journalism and serve efficiently in their role as the fourth estate,” stated ACP secretary general Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni.
“A healthy, free and open media environment enhances business climate and correlates to increased investment attractiveness. The ills of corruption can only be undone in an environment where freedom of information and freedom of speech is upheld and protected, and where journalists are free to operate with independence and neutrality, without fear,” said executive director of the Brussels-EU Press Club Laurent Brihay.
To maximize the capacity of the press to contribute to development and to enhance cooperation between media and different sectors of society including government, business, civil society sectors, the ACP Secretariat has teamed up with the European Press Clubs Federation to establish the ACP Press Clubs Federation.
Currently in development, the ACP Press Clubs Federation project seeks to build a strong partnership network amongst press clubs in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and regions, in connection with those in Europe and the rest of the world. Press clubs act as communication hubs focused on networking and collaboration amongst members from all sectors, including press and media, business, government, tourism and civil society.
In September 2013, under the chairmanship of the Press Club Brussels-Europe, the European Press Clubs Federation signed an MOU with the ACP Secretariat to set up a network model that would empower and internationalize local and regional operators, and act as a platform for innovative communications strategies that would benefit ACP countries and the intra-ACP cooperation of the Group as a whole.