The Board of Directors of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has elected a new Chairman of the Board and appointed a new Executive Director for the organisation. The decisions were made at the Board’s two-day meeting in Accra, held on January 8 and 9, 2014.
At the board level, Mr. Edetaen Ojo from Nigeria has been elected as the new Chairman. He replaces Ms. Soyata Maiga from Mali, whose tenure as board Chair has come to an end. Mr. Ojo, who is the Executive Director of the Nigeria-based Media Rights Agenda (MRA), is one of Africa’s leading experts on free expression, media development and access to information.
Mr. Ojo is a board member of a number of local, regional and international human rights and media development organisations including the Uganda-based African Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) and the International Media Support (IMS) based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Until June 2013, he was the Convenor (Chair) of the governing council of the Canada-based organisation, IFEX, the world’s biggest network of free expression advocacy organisation.
At the management level, the Board has appointed Mr. Sulemana Braimah as the new Executive Director of the organisation following the retirement of Prof. Kwame Karikari who has been the Executive Director of the organisation for the past 16 years.
Mr. Braimah has tremendous experience in free expression and media development issues and has participated in and presented papers at several international conferences on free expression and media development. In the last two years, Mr. Braimah has served as a reviewer of the World Press Freedom Index, an annual ranking of countries on press freedom, conducted by the US-based organisation, Freedom House. He currently serves on the Governing Council and the Executive Committee of IFEX.
Mr. Braimah joined the MFWA in 2010 and until his appointment, was the Deputy Executive Director of the organisation. Prior to joining the MFWA, he worked as news editor of The Chronicle Newspaper in Ghana, and part-time lecturer at the Africa University Colleague of Communications.
The Board highly commended Prof. Kwame Karikari for his exemplary leadership of the MFWA for the past 16 years. It also commended the organisation for its tremendous efforts in promoting free expression in West Africa, particularly its work on safety of journalists and media development in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire during the political crisis and in the ongoing democratic recovery processes in those countries.
The board issued a resolution at the end of its meeting in which it expressed concern about the falling standards of professionalism in media practice in the West Africa region. The Board also expressed deep concern about the serious challenges posed by extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking to media freedom and practice in West Africa and called on national governments, regional bodies and civil society groups in West Africa to work collaboratively to address the problem,” the resolution stated.