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African Nations Set Up SMART News Service

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st August 2001 03:00 AM

SEVEN African countries and Malaysia have established an online news service to counter what they called biased coverage of Africa, reports Anne Mugisa.

SEVEN African countries and Malaysia have established an online news service to counter what they called biased coverage of Africa, reports Anne Mugisa.

SEVEN African countries and Malaysia have established an online news service to counter what they called biased coverage of Africa, reports Anne Mugisa. President Yoweni Museveni of Uganda, Mozambique’s Joachim Chissano and the Malaysian premier Dr Mahathir bin Muhammad launched the Smart News Network International (SNNI) late on Monday. The presidents of South Africa, Tanzania, Burundi, Sudan and Malawi attended the ceremony. The leaders are in Uganda to attend a meeting of presidents, government officials and business people dubbed Global 2001 Smart Partnership Dialogue. The leaders said SNNI will counteract what they called inaccurate and biased news coverage of Africa and exchange information among member countries,” a statement from State House Nakasero said yesterday. It said the news service will also provide training for journalists and other media practitioners and create better understanding between member countries. The inauguration of the news service followed the launch earlier on Monday of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), a multinational African organisation aimed at boosting direct investment in the continent. SNNI’s main server will initially be located in Malaysia and participating African media groups will contribute daily news reports, features, photographs and video images. Uganda’s government-owned newspaper, The New Vision, is part of the participating groups along with Malaysian newspapers, The Bernama, The New Straits Times, The Star and Utusan Malaysia. Other contributors are the Mozambique news agency, Namibia Today newspaper, South Africa’s Bua News, The Herald of Zimbabwe, The Seychelles Nation and The Daily News of Botswana. While inaugurating ATI, the leaders said the international media portrayed the continent as risky for investment. Muhammad said the information technology had led to globalisation. He called for democratisation of the developing countries but cautioned that what one country considered democracy might not apply in another. He expressed the importance of foreign direct investment in the developing world and said countries must create conditions that attract such deals. Ends

African Nations Set Up SMART News Service

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