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A two-day meeting for experts on political and electoral communication in Africa, takes place from 24 to 25 January 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The meeting brings together Election Management Bodies, Media Regulatory Bodies, Broadcasters/Journalist Associations, as well as civil society organisations in Africa.

The media Council of Tanzania (MCT) is represented by its Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga.

The meeting is organized by United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Opinion and Expression, in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, with the support of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios para la Democracia Social (Demos Institute) and the Open Society Foundations.

During the two day meeting the experts will share experiences across the region on balancing the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression in the political sphere, including prior to and during elections, while also protecting the potential abuse of the right through misguided communication.

According to the official invitation information, discussions will also focus on promoting and protecting citizens’ rights to participate in the political sphere through access to a wide range of information as a democratic ideal.

The expected outcome of this meeting is the attainment of a general understanding of how political electoral communication has been regulated within African States, and recommendations proposed on how this can be further enhanced going forward, as a means of strengthening democracy in general and freedom of expression in particular, on the continent.

These recommendations will form part of the UN Special Rapporteur’s report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014.

In addition, it is also expected that recommendations emanating from these discussions will serve as the basis of a resolution to be tabled for adoption by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its next Ordinary Session taking place in April 2014.

The organizers list the objectives of the meeting as:

  • To explore the most urgent opportunities and challenges that freedom of expression faces today in Africa, in order to strengthen democracy.
  • To study in depth the topic of Political-Electoral Communication regarding the Right to Freedom of Expression and collect regional recommendations for the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression on this topic to be presented to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 2014.
  • To assess the situation of Political-Electoral Communication in the region, its regulations, the existing electoral legislation, its protection and its limitations, and what are the guarantees of an equitable in the use of this communication in the countries of the region.

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