The school, the first of its kind in the region, will have its first campus in Nairobi by next year and later be integrated in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Aga Khan University to be created in Arusha.
“I am pleased to tell you that The Aga Khan University is planning to establish a new Graduate School of Media and Communications, based in East Africa and dedicated to advancing the excellence of media performance and the strengthening of ethical media practices throughout the developing world,” the Aga Khan said in his speech at the opening of the Pan African Media Conference on Thursday.
The two-day conference, which brings together political leaders and media experts across the continent, is being hosted by Nation Media Group as part of its Golden jubilee celebrations.
The proposed Graduate School of Media will offer a Masters Degree program, serving recent university graduates as well as media owners, managers, and mid-career journalists.
It will also offer continuing education classes and establish a special program in media management.
In addition, the new School will create a Forum on the Media Future, a place for conducting and disseminating research.
“This new School will also work on the cutting edge of media technology, embracing especially the new on-line world – its complications and its potentials. Here, as in other areas, Africa has the capacity to leap-frog into an advanced position in applying these new technologies. The rapid spread here of mobile phone technology supports this view – as do recent advances in broadband availability – including the new SEACOM undersea cable development,” the Aga Khan said.
He at the same time reckoned that the quest for media freedom in Africa should not give license to the introduction of liberal media practices.
“Let me sound a word of caution. Freedom, in any area of human activity, does not mean the moral license to abuse that freedom. It would be a sad thing if the people of Africa in the name of freedom, were expected to welcome the worst of media practices, whether they are home-grown or imported.”
“I am convinced that the best way for media, in Africa and elsewhere, to maintain their independence is to prove their indispensability,” said the Aga Khan.