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APO Group pledges support for African governments in fight against COVID-19

The pan-African communications and business consultancy, today announced they will support the
dissemination of coronavirus-related information from African governments to the press and public.

APO Group will aggregate and distribute all relevant content issued by African governments for free through its press release distribution service and a specially-designed coronavirus tag  on www.Africa-Newsroom.com. Government-issued information will be distributed in English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic.

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As the largest press release distribution service in Africa, APO Group reaches more than 400,000 journalists working in or reporting on the continent.

Dozens of health ministries will benefit from the programme immediately, including Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote’s Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

According to the statement BusinessDay received, any African government, institution or official organisation that wishes to distribute news releases about coronavirus for free can email APO Group at coronavirus@apo-opa.com. APO Group will also distribute press releases from the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO Regional Office for Africa and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“Keeping the public informed accurately about COVID-19 is crucial,” said Zabulon Yoti, Acting Regional Emergencies Director for WHO in Africa. “These efforts by media organizations will help disseminate potentially life-saving information.”

“It is critical that African governments have a tool for their voices to be heard,” said APO Group CEO Lionel Reina. “In dedicating internal resources to managing this free press release distribution service and special tag in www.Africa-Newsroom.com we are helping African governments communicate their story to domestic and international audiences and we are contributing to the global fight against the virus in the best way we can. We believe in the power of community, which is why we’re working collaboratively with African governments, media organisations, and journalists to help communicate reliable information about the coronavirus.”

APO Group’s coronavirus tag is important because it allows journalists easy access to all coronavirus-related news releases with just one click. Media can also subscribe (www.Africa-Newsroom.com/africarc) via email or create an RSS feed to remain updated with the latest government-released information on the virus.

As the pandemic escalates, timely, reliable communication plays an important role in helping populations prepare and take as many preventative measures as possible. But the circulation of misinformation and rumours about the virus poses an enormous risk, as the WHO Director-General recently emphasised (https://bit.ly/3bha7cR). Some of the world’s largest social media companies recently pledged to work together to remove misleading posts from their platforms (https://tcrn.ch/2J3MXdR), and journalists and media organisations are working collaboratively to aggregate accurate, officially-sourced news to better inform the public.

Clear, accurate communication is critical, especially in an environment where fake news about the virus abounds. This initiative will help African governments communicate genuine, credible news content, as well as provide advice for how best to fight the coronavirus.

APO Group’s reputation as a trusted source for accurate information has long served as a beacon against fake news and is now, more than ever, critical to combatting misinformation about COVID-19.

It is a role that APO Group knows well. The company is a pro-bono distributor of press releases for several United Nations agencies.

During the Ebola crisis, the company provided free support to the Government of Sierra Leone, organising a series of online press conferences to broadcast their guidance and updates. A spokesman for the Government of Sierra Leone Abdulai Bayraytay commented at the time: “The online press conferences succeeded in generating much more international interest in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone. Thanks to APO Group, we were able to tell our story to the rest of the world from our own perspective.”

APO Group remains fully operational and ready to support clients through this extraordinary crisis.

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