The 2021 edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) opens on Friday, October 22. The event which is the fifth edition since it commenced in 2017 will be held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
The one-day event, which starts at 9 am, focuses on the theme: Misinformation, Digital Media Regulation and Journalism in Africa. It will dissect the increasing phenomenon of misinformation and disinformation, the rising enactments of legislation across Africa to regulate the digital space and their impact on journalism in Africa. Discussions at the conference will seek to make key recommendations for good governance and media development.
WAMECA 2021 will host West Africa’s foremost media defence lawyer, Femi Falana; media experts, editors, academics, freedom of expression advocates and high-profile personalities from across West Africa and beyond. Also present will be representatives from the AU, ECOWAS, the UN systems, high commissions/embassies, civil society organisations (CSOs) and international organisations.
The conference’s curtain will be raised by Ghana’s Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. Other key personalities to speak at the event which is the largest gathering of media stakeholders in the region are Dapo Olorunyomi, Co-Founder, CEO and Publisher of the Premium Times, Nigeria; Manasseh Azure Awuni, Editor-in-Chief, The Fourth Estate, Ghana; Idayat Hassan, Executive Director, Centre for Democratic Development-West Africa and Joseph Warungu, Media/ Communication Consultant and former head, BBC African News and Current Affairs Department.
The others are Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria; Julie Owono, Executive Director, Internet Without Borders, United States; Elias Okwara, Africa Policy Manager, Access Now, Kenya; Dora Boamah Mawutor, Programme Manager, Media Foundation for West Africa.
The awards component, which starts at 4.30 p.m., will honour outstanding journalists in West Africa whose works are impacting lives in society.
The Awards competition received over 700 entries from across 14 West African countries. A 5-member Jury of the Awards after a thorough review of the entries shortlisted 21 finalists from five countries who will be honoured at the Awards event.
West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA 2021) is supported by MTN-Ghana, the US Embassy in Ghana, Stanbic Bank, Hewlett Foundation and OSIWA. The event is also supported by over 50 media partners across West Africa.