Media outlets in the East African region have yet to explore the region’s cultural potentials, especially when it comes to pictures and photography, according to EAC’s deputy secretary general (in-charge of Political Federation), Dr Julius Rotich.
Dr Rotich made the remarks here yesterday when opening the first ‘Master Class Media Photographers’ series of training programmes, involving nearly 20 photojournalists from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania.
The three-day workshop is organised by the EAC’s secretariat in collaboration with German’s Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)).
The official said that most of the media outlets have been busy showcasing saucy materials instead.
“We know that the local public is always attracted to gruesome, nude and colorful romantic photographs as well as dramatic stories,” he pointed out, adding that due to that, some pictures are usually re-touched to suit the occasion.
Rotich further said pictures do get manipulated for colour enhancement, others are photo-shopped to create false images and there is also the issue of misleading captioning all of which tend to negatively impact the journalism profession and tarnish the image of East Africa.
According to the DSG, the role of the media, especially Photo-journalism in the EAC integration process has come into sharp focus in the light of how the region’s media houses perceive and frame the integration agenda especially given that the broad goal of the EAC is to widen and deepen co-operation among partner states in the realm of political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defense, security and legal cum judicial affairs.
He maintained that photography was meant to educate, inform, record and preserve moments in time for generations to come.
“It is a method of keeping and sharing memories, illustrating different people, life-styles, cultures and places whether in war or peace, to provoke emotional feelings, sway public opinion and perhaps change things for better.”
The Master Class Training is aimed at enhancing photographers’ professional skills required to capture quality pictures for improved coverage of EAC, raising awareness and improving knowledge of integration topics.
After the programme, the East African Community Secretariat intends to build long partnership with local media houses around the region in order to enhance the coverage and visibility of the EAC integration issues in the partner states.