Highway Africa conference underway in South Africa

Some participants at the Highway Africa Conference in South Africa

The highly rated international conference on digital media practice popularly christened highway Africa has taken off at the Rhodes University in Port Elizabeth.

Welcoming journalists from all over Africa at an elaborate dinner Wednesday night, Communications Manager of Rhodes University, Veliswa Mhlope expressed delight for the opportunity to host the 22nd edition of the conference this year.

Highway Africa, she stressed is a project by the Rhodes University and is supported by a variety of partners including  government, corporate organisations including MTN in South Africa as well as some international agencies.
The focus of this year’s conference, she revealed is the impact of digital technologies on journalism and the media and by extension, society.
”Our theme for this year’s conference is digital citizenship: the changing relationship of media and society and we look to robust debates on the impact the digital revolution is having on our whole way of life in Africa”, Ms Mhlope noted.

The conference coordinator, Tatenda Chatikobo in a chat with the Ghanaian Observer newspaper said they are hopeful this year’s gathering will help to enhance the connection between media practitioners and society.
He said the world currently is in a terrain it has never been  before since access to information is now high up in demand.
The excitement with access to information, knowledge resources and various discourses, he noted is tempered by the reality of intrusion into privacy, surveillance, cyberbullying, censorship and the unequal access to internet across the globe.
” For us in the media, the challenges are greater as our business models keep evolving at a rapid rate and our newsrooms are shrinking whilst having to produce more and more McDonaldised news”, the coordinator opined.

Rhodes University, hosts of highway Africa conference is the smallest university in South Africa.

It has 8, 300 students studying various courses including journalism and media  law.

It conducts the highest research into courses and programs being offered in Universities in Africa.

This year, the University is assembling 13 highly qualified persons and speakers at the highway Africa conference including Ghana’s  Kwame Ahiabenu, a foremost expert on information technology and democracy.

Other speakers are Adam Clayton Powell III, Director of programs, University of Southern California, Nigel Nyamutumbu, Media Development Practitioner, Maria de Lurdes Mangueleze, Executive Director of the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication in Zimbabwe as well as others.

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