Kenya's Churchill Otieno elected African Editors Forum chairman

Churchill Otieno

Former Kenya Editors Guild President Churchill Otieno.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

The immediate former president of the Kenya Editors' Guild, Churchill Otieno, has been elected chairman of the African Editors' Forum.

The African Editors' Forum, the body that brings together editors from the continent, plays a pivotal role in promoting professionalism, excellence and the vital principles of media freedom and safety of journalists, especially in the face of challenges posed by intolerant regimes.

Mr Otieno's election to this position comes at a critical time when African journalists are facing many challenges. Chief among these challenges is the growing threat to press freedom and the safety of journalists.

Despite concerted efforts to uphold ethical standards and defend press freedom, journalists across the continent continue to face harassment and intimidation.

Mr Otieno vowed to amplify the voices of the marginalised and hold the powerful to account, underscoring the critical role journalists play in promoting transparency and accountability amidst adversity.

β€œLet us not forget the human element of our craft – the stories of resilience, courage, and hope that define our shared humanity. In amplifying the voices of the marginalised, holding the powerful to account, and shining a light on the darkest corners of society, we affirm our commitment to justice, equality, and the pursuit of a better tomorrow,” Mr Otieno said.

He emphasised the importance of recognising the human element in journalism, highlighting stories of resilience, courage and hope that reflect our shared humanity.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Africa Editors' Forum, Mr Otieno articulated his commitment to amplifying the voices of the marginalised, holding the powerful to account and shining a light on the darkest aspects of society in the pursuit of justice, equality and a better future.

During the AGM, Mr Otieno was elected to lead the Africa Editors' Forum Executive Council for a two-year term from 2024 to 2026.

The newly elected Executive Council comprises prominent professionals from across the continent, including Emmanuel Dogbevi (Vice Chair, Ghana), Emang Mutapati (Secretary General, Botswana), Sbu Ngalwa (Treasurer General, South Africa), Zubeidah Kananu (Member, Kenya), Durra Gambo (Member, South Sudan), Zied el Heni (Member, Tunisia) and representatives from Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Kenya Editors' Guild said the election of Mr Otieno as Chair of the African Editors' Forum underscores the urgency of addressing these multiple challenges while seizing opportunities to promote journalistic excellence and media freedom in Africa.

"Collaboration is key in our media space. Gone are the days of working in silos. Let us continue to build the journalism profession by sharing lessons learnt in Kenya and Africa," said KEG President Zubeidah Kananu.

During the AGM, Mathatha Tsedu, a founding member of the African Editors' Forum and a distinguished South African journalist, was honoured with a Lifetime Service to Journalism Award in recognition of his enduring contribution to the field.

The election of Mr Otieno as Chairman of the African Editors' Forum marks a milestone in the quest for journalistic excellence and media freedom in Africa, setting the stage for collective action towards a more informed, transparent and democratic society.