East End Film Festival 2012

Ah London, source of endless culture and amazement, I'm not even back yet, and there is already so much to do, see, listen to!

Today's disovery: The fabulous Rich Mix Cinema in East London (among other theatres) will host the East End Film Festival 2012 from Wed 4 July to Sun 8 July, with a series of foreign films by independent filmmakers from India, Spain, Egypt, Canada, Uganda, the UK and more.

See the programme here:


or here for film details:

Time Out says:

Founded in 2001, the East End Film Festival is now one of the UK's largest film festivals. This year the festival coincides with World Pride and includes more LGBT films than ever before, including 'Call Me Kuchu', 'How To Survive A Plague', 'Look At Me Again', 'Riot Girls' and 'Our Story'.

The festival runs for a week at various venues including Hackney Picturehouse and Stratford Picturehouse.

Among the film presented, "Call Me Guchu" from Uganda I mentioned in a previous post:

It is every night at 9pm.

Hope to see you there!


At the heart of the cultural carousal leading into this summer’s Olympic Games, EEFF 2012 will offer a dynamic, six day showcase of cinema from all over the globe.

Now established as one of the UK’s biggest film festivals, the EEFF returns for what will be its most high profile edition to date in a year where all eyes are on London’s most dynamic quarter, offering a full international programme of feature films, a selection of short film programmes and a full industry line up. Every year the EEFF supports its screenings with panels, workshops and immersive, site specific events exploring the power and meaning of cinema, and EEFF 2012 will be provocative, passionate, embracing, engaging and wholly-heartedly inclusive, in the manner of all truly great cinema.


More on the Festival on its website:



The African Cypher

"The African Cypher" is the name of a new documentary about Stouh African sound and dancing.
Here is the trailer:
Out in South Africa this week.
More soon I hope!
I'm looking into it...


The African Cypher

Directed by: Bryan Little
Produced by: Filipa Domingues
Cinematography by: Grant Appleton
Edited by: Grant Birch
Sound design and composition by: Simon Kohler
A Fly on the Wall production in association with Red Bull Media House

Dance/Social Documentary
Running time : 89 min
English/Afrikaans/Zulu/Sotho/Totsi Taal : Subtitled in English 


This article published today in the Guardian illustrates again what I was reporting on about Mogadishu last month: The Somali capital is learning again to live at peace.

Peace returns to Mogadishu

Liberated from Islamist militants, the Somali capital is recovering from the ravages of war Daniel Howden  - Mogadishu


This quote from a former doctor recently returned to his homeland from exil summarises it all: "his first impression on coming home was that he had arrived in Hiroshima".

"It was a beautiful place, they used to call it the White City," he said.

Anyone who visits Mogadishu can tell how beautiful the site is and how majestuous the city seems to have been...

It of course reminds me of another "White City", Alger la Blanche, whcih used to be sublime and is less, for some other reasons I won't develop here.

But as one of the Somali returnee Daniel Howden interviewed for this article says well, this new Mogadishu says "it's hard for outsiders to comprehend: It's half relaxing, half scary."

Very accurate.


A new start

Mogadishu is still standing and solwly comes back to life, I heard lots of testimonies saying the very same statement while in Somalia with the AMISOM Ugandan contingent, last April.

Here are a few other photos I took to illustrate a little, while I am still hoping to publish an article on the issue on an English publication...

The view from the AMISOM compound, Mogadishu

Keeping peace...

Healthcare centre near Km4

Mogadishu Airport's police

Food centre at the Tarabunka-Dikfeer IDP (Internally displaced people) camp

Activity at Mogadishu's seaport

African islamists coordinating?

A Guardian article from their South African correspondent spreads the news:

According to the US military in Africa, at least three African islamist group would be joinng their efforts... Al-Shabaab militants - active in the Horn of Africa - Boko Haram - from Nigeria - and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are increasingly co-ordinating their activities, the US states...

Here is the article:



Africa's Islamist militants 'co-ordinate efforts in threat to continent's security'

Head of US Africa Command says Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al-Qaida in north Africa sharing money, explosives and training

Here is the press release from AFRICOM, American Forces Press Service:

It announces that "U.S. Africa Command's top military officer detailed existing and emerging threats from extremist organizations on the continent in a speech at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C, June 25, 2012".

It underlines that "each of the extremist organizations is worrisome in its own right", according to the general, and that "there are indications they are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts".

Let's see if there is any comment from Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Somalia or Kenya on the issue the next few days... 

Uganda on my mind

I was talking a lot about Uganda those past few days...

Wish I could fly for a few weeks to Entebbe and work from Kampala on the many issues that are so fascinating about this country.

I went to Uganda twice in 2011, in Kampala, Gulu and Lira, during the elections in February then in May 2011, and had an amazing human and journalistic experience.

 (Kampala by day - During the presidential campaign, Feb. 2011)

I mentioned a few days ago the film Call Me Kuchu - a feature-length documentary film on Uganda homosexual communities and the lack of right for gay and lesbian people - it will be out in the UK this coming Autumn, I hope to interview the filmmakers soon. So here is one issue.

Then remains the LRA issue.

Here is an article published today on the UN radio's website about joined Western efforts to try to prove good intentions around the quest against Joseph Kony and the LRA. We all know it is however difficult to state where exactly Joseph Kony currently is and what are the actions of the LRA, but this is precisely why I would love to read more on the problem

Here is the link of the UN radio's report:


'UN and African Union plan to stop Kony and LRA'

It states that the "UN and African Union envoys have highlighted a new regional strategy that they hope will bring an end to the activities of Joseph Kony and his rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)".

It also add that "The AU Special Envoy on the LRA, Francisco Madeira said a task force of  5,000 troops set up to find Kony and the LRA is almost operational".


Uganda has also been in the news this week because of:

- a government plan to ban 38 non-governmental organisations it accuses of promoting homosexuality, see more on the BBC's website:


- and an infamous landslide in the eastern region, near Kenya's border, see more here:


And finally, Uganda is on my mind asa Global Witness' report is out regarding the oil discovery. "As Uganda’s draft oil laws are presented to Parliament, a Global Witness analysis of the legislation highlights the need for greater environmental, social and transparency provisions", the NGO says. See here:



For all those reasons and much more, and of course out of passion for the beautiful country, I'd be ready to go back anytime.

Your comments and news from Uganda are welcome!





US / West African relations: on Counternarcotics Assistance

The US government has launched the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI) in order to "combating transnational organized crime in West Africa", the U.S. Department of State stated.

It consequently participated on June 21 in an international mission "to promote cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)".

WACSI is premised on the concept that cooperation with international partners and donor coordination is essential to fight transnational crime...

Here is the press release published on the U.S. Department of Stat's website:

United States Participates in International Mission to the Economic Community of West African States to Promote Cooperation on Counternarcotics Assistance

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 22, 2012

Politique Africaine

And discovering also... a review on African politics:

Politique Africaine

 Written in French, created in the 1980s, and now directed by Laurent Fourchard and Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle.

The website: 



This is a great week for discovering new Africa-related artists and thinkers!

Discovering writers: Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

Discovering thanks to my favourite radio programme, 'The Strand', on the BBC World Service:


On this Monday evening / Tuesday morning's programme: Caine Prize nominee Melissa Tandiwe Myambo.

 Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is from Zimbabwe and was invited on The Strand to talk about her story 'The Departure Lounge'.

Ahead of the award ceremony on July 2nd, The radio programme will be meeting all five of the writers on this year's shortlist.


More on the Caine Prize for African Writing:

The Caine Prize for African Writing is one of the most prestigious literary awards for African authors. It is named after the late Sir Michael Caine who intended that the award be, ”open to writers from anywhere in Africa for work published in English. Its focus is on the short story, as reflecting the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition.”
The first Prize was given in 2000 at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair.
In July of each year, a week of press opportunities, story readings and signings is held for the shortlisted candidates before the winner of the £10,000 prize is announced.

The shortlist is as follows:
Rotimi Babatunde (Nigeria) – “Bombay’s Republic.” 
Billy Kahora (Kenya) – “Urban Zoning”
Stanley Kenani (Malawi) - “Love on Trial”
Melissa Tandiwe Myambo (Zimbabwe) -  ”La Salle de Depart”
Constance Myburgh (South Africa) - “Hunter Emmanuel”
Click on the links to read the short stories and check back in July to find out who won. Tell us which one you like. Happy reading!


More on Melissa Tandiwe Myambo here:


(Ikhide R. Ikheloa's blog. He "reads and writes obsessively", is "Passionate about the stories of Africa.")

Burundi in pictures on BBC Afrique's website

Hello people,

my section at the BBC World Service, dedicated to French-speaking Africa, is celebrting Burundi's anniversary of independence with this beautiful slideshow of photographs:


It is pretty rare! Thanks to our correspondents in the Great Lakes region.


En images: le Burundi en fête

Le Burundi est connu pour la division ethnique entre Hutus et Tutsis, après deux longues guerres civiles qui ont causé la mort de milliers de personnes. Aujourd’hui, une ère nouvelle s’ouvre pour le pays.



"Call Me Kuchu": Being gay in Uganda

Call Me Kuchu is a feature-length documentary film from Uganda about the lack of right for gay and lesbian people in the Central African country.

It has been directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.

It deals with the every-day difficulties homosexuals encounter in Uganda, a country which unfortunately recognises no rights for LGBT - "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" - people.

The ocumentary is specifically about the life and death of one of Uganda’s first openly gay activists, David Kato.

It was recipient of diverse grants from numerous funders, including Chicken & Egg Pictures, Frameline and the Catapult Film Fund, as well as fellowships with the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011, the Film Independent Documentary Lab, and the Fast Track film financing market at L.A. Film Festival 2011.

David Kato was killed out of hatred in January 2011, just a few weeks before my first trip to Kampala, and I remember the shock in provoke in the gay community and among human rights activists in the whole East African region.  

More here:

More information about the film at www.callmekuchu.com :

"In an unmarked office at the end of a dirt track, veteran activist David Kato labors to repeal Uganda’s homophobic laws and liberate his fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or “kuchus.” But David’s formidable task just became much more difficult. A new “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” proposes death for HIV-positive gay men, and prison for anyone who fails to turn in a known homosexual. Inspired by American evangelicals who have christened Uganda ground zero in their war on the “homosexual agenda,” the Bill awaits debate in Uganda’s Parliament. Meanwhile, local newspapers have begun outing kuchus with vicious fervor under headlines such as: “HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City.” "



Four Ugandans fight for justice & freedom on the frontlines of Africa's gay rights movement:

(Virtual) Summer in Algiers

A new web documentary dedicated to the contemporary Algiers has been lauched yesterday from Paris. It broadcasts documentaries filmed in the Algerian capital, from different points o you, by different filmmakers or just regular citizens, in norder to capture a bit of nowadays Algiers, far from stereotyopes or from the images of the past.

You can see them here, all day long, on this website:


The website will show during six weeks different films depicting today's Algiers.

Presentation in French:

"UN ETE A ALGER" est un web documentaire imaginé par Aurélie Charon et Caroline Gillet, avec Yanis Koussim, Lamine Ammar-Khodja, Amina Zoubir, Hassen Ferhani. Narrative/Une chambre à soi / avec le soutien du CNC, dont le lancement a été donné hier, 24 juin 2012.
Co produit par Narrative et Une chambre à soi.

"Loin de l'Alger colonial, loin d'Alger la blanche vue d'ici, on est au coeur du nouvel Alger qui revit : les jeunes portent déjà la révolution dont ils rêvent dans leurs envies, leurs corps et leurs vies. Après le printemps arabe, l'été sera algérien. La parole est à eux", affirment les réalisatrices.


More details on the Facebook page:



It all started with a radio documentary project created for France Inter:

I must adnit it does bring back lost of memories of my two last trip to Algiers, which happened in 2001 and 1992, especially the views from the balconies like in the film "50 contre 1"...

Wherever you are, you can spend the Summer in Algiers, claim the producers... I really wanted to visit Algeria again this year myself, but I still have not been able to. That's a start. And a very beautiful one.



One way ticket

It is Summer and as I mentioned here already, Summer will be the season for London.

I just book my one way ticket to the British capital and will be leaving Paris in a week. 2012 is the year of travels, so it's the way forward. Paris, we had a great time but it never seems to be enough to make me stay for good.

 London's Summer 2012 will be the summer of the Olympics and Parlympics, which I should cover for radio,  and will see my return at the BBC World Service's headquarter, in their new building in Central London.

I hope to see you there!

Kenya's port of Mombasa threatened according to the USA

U.S. warns of attack threat in Kenyan port city

The press agency reports that the US warns Kenya over terror attacks in Mombasa...

You can read the article from the link below:

(Reuters) - The U.S. embassy in Kenya has warned of an imminent threat of an attack on the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and asked all its government workers to leave the coastal town, which has been hit by a series of attacks.



London calling: Summer of ARTS

Here is a list of my main choices of exhibitions not-to-miss my first weeks in London this summer. Theere are so many possible choices, but time is - by nature - limited!
Follow me... and feel free to add some more.

Damien Hirst
Until Sun Sep 9
Tate Modern, SE1

Out of Focus: Photography
Until Sun Jul 22
Saatchi Gallery, SW3

Summer Exhibition 2012
4 June—12 August 2012
Royal Academy
In the Main Galleries, Burlington House

Bauhaus: Art as Life
Until Sun Aug 12
Barbican Centre, EC2

Picasso and Modern British Art
Until Sun Jul 15
Tate Britain, SW1

British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age
Until Sun Aug 12
V&A, SW7

The London Open
 Whitechapel Gallery
4 July-14 September 2012
Galleries 1, 8 & 9
This exhibition showcases the most dynamic work being made in London in 2012.
Admission free


This event is a dream come true, a dream I did not even dare to have...

My favourite museum, the V&A in London aka the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, is organising a new monthly event in Paris.

It is called Friday Late Paris and the first one is next Friday, June the 29th, and branded Afropolitans.

It will take place at the Wanderlust, a new hot and trendy fashion and art place on Quai d'Austerlitz, Paris 13e, recently opened.

The evening will be focused on African fashion, photography, style, and aesthetic.

This will be on my last weekend in Paris before I move to London again and get to spend all my Friday evenings at the V&A.

So looking forward!

Here are the details:

"We're pleased to announce a monthly collaboration with Wanderlust - the new multi-disciplinary space set in the Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design. On the last Friday of every month, we present Friday Late Paris.

Following it
s success in London in 2011, join us for Afropolitans - an evening exploring African fashion, photography, and personal style, looking back to the image makers who captured the excitement and optimism of the 60s and 70s, and forward to the young Afropolitans who are creating a new urbane and cosmopolitan African aesthetic.

Visitors can have their portrait taken in our monochrome, Malick Sidibé-inspired photo studio, or join textile designer Emamoke Ukeleghe for a hands-on workshop, screen printing vintage-inspired designs onto Vlisco’s famous Dutch Wax fabric.

Rising British designer Adrien Sauvage will appear in conversation to discuss his Ghana-inspired A. Sauvage Black Volta collection, and we will be screening the documentaries Dolce Vita Africana and Sunday in Brazzaville. There will be a fun and interactive installation by Laurence Airline designer Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud and music from the Secousse Sound System DJs



Africa Writes 2012 - London, SOAS, June 30 - July 1

The Royal African Society (RAS) in London organises every every year a brilliant event called Africa Writes - a literature and book festival celebrating contemporary African writing, and for 2012 it begins soon.

"Africa Writes aims to enhance coverage and discussion about African literature and writers in London - and the UK, by extension - showcasing established and emerging literary talent from Africa and the Diaspora during a weekend-long series of events, including book launches, readings, panel discussions, children's workshops and other activities:, RAS explains on its website.

The festival will also feature a two-day international book fair of publishers of African writing and an outdoor pan-African food market featuring dishes from all four corners of the continent.

This year Africa Writes will mark the 50th anniversary of the African Writers Series and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - author of Half a Yellow Sun and winner of the Orange Prize for fiction - will be delivering the main lecture focusing on the legacy of the series. 

Other confirmed authors taking part in the festival include: Ellen Banda-Aaku, Nuruddin Farah, Kojo Laing, Lily Mabura, Jack Mapanje, Obi Okigbo, Noo Saro-Wiwa, E. E. Sule, Goretti Kyomuhendo and the five shortlisted Caine Prize writers for 2012, namely Rotimi Babatunde, Billy Kahora, Stanley Kenani, Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, and Constance Myburgh. 

Participating poets include: Modeste Hugues, Oxmo Pucion, Kety Nevyabandi Bikura, Shalija Patel, T.J. Dema, Paul Dakeyo, Bewketu Seyoum, Abdulahi Botaan Hassan 'Kurweyne', Warsan Shire, Sam Elmi, Elmi Ali, Inua Ellams,Yemisi Blake, Safia Elhillo, Mariama Khan, Togara Muzanenhamo, and Lemn Sissay.

On Sunday, 1st July, panel discussions will be held on the current publishing landscape for contemporary African writing and the phenomenon of "Writing Away from Home", which affects so many African writers living in the Diaspora. 

The festival's closing event will be Word from Africa, part of Poetry Parnassus at the Southbank Centre (Sunday, 1st July, 6-10pm).

All events are free and open to the public except for the Chimamanda lecture and Caine Prize event.


Africa Writes 2012

30 June, 2012 - 01 July, 2012 
SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square - London,WC1H 0XG 

Ethiopia, land and pastoralism

On those days of the Earth Summit in Rio, my thoughts goes especially to the future of food in Africa and especially Ethiopia where I was reporting on the topic about a month ago.

This week, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report on the endangered balance between pastoralism and agriculture. Here it is:


Government Should Consult, Compensate Indigenous Communities

June 18, 2012
It concerns the Omo region in the South of the country where the government intends to start state-run sugar plantations, according to HRW. 
"The 73-page report, “‘What Will Happen if Hunger Comes?’: Abuses against the Indigenous Peoples of Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley,”documents how government security forces are forcing communities to relocate from their traditional lands through violence and intimidation, threatening their entire way of life with no compensation or choice of alternative livelihoods," states the NGO's website.
Give it a read.


RIO+20: Views from Ethiopia

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was in Ethiopia reporting on food security in East Africa, in the perspective of the UN Summit of Rio+20, in French 'Le Sommet de la Terre', organised 20 years after the 1992 UN summit in the very same city in Brazil.

Here is a link to my first report from Ethiopia on the issue for La Deutsche Welle in French:


 "Le sommet de Rio+20 consacré à l’économie verte et à l’éradication de la pauvreté s’ouvre lundi. La question de la sécurité alimentaire dans les pays en développement comme l'Ethiopie s’annonce au centre des débats. On connaît les problèmes auxquels est confronté le Sahel, mais en Ethiopie, où la sécheresse a durement frappé en 2011, l’Etat est parvenu à supprimer les famines qui avaient accablé le pays jusqu'à la terrible crise de 1985. Cela dit, les difficultés perdurent."

Listen at the end of the page in: Audios et vidéos sur le sujet

Direct link to audio:


More soon.

My main radio story will be on BBC Afrique this week, listen in BBC Matin here:



CMPF Summer School for Journalists: Investigative journalism in France

Best Practices nb#2
Investigative journalism

Case in France
Melissa Chemam
Summer School for Journalists
CMFP, Florence, June 2012
Investigative journalism is not as developed in France as in the US or the UK. But legally, laws exist to protect journalists and their sources. It’s more in practice that it becomes sometimes dangerous for the investigative reporters to try and protect their rights, contacts and sources.
The Press Freedom Law of 29 July 1881 passed under the French Third Republic intended to liberalise the press and promote free public discussion. The new law swept away a swathe of earlier statutes, stating at the outset the principle that "Printing and publication are free".
But in 1893, following French anarchist Augustin Vaillant’s assassination attempt, the first anti-terrorist laws were voted, which were quickly denounced as ‘lois scelerates’, threatening the media freedom. These laws severely restricted freedom of expression, permitting widespread censorship of the press. Since then, the country has been battling to protect the rights of journalists to investigate political stories. Censorship was current during World War I, for instance, and it led to the 1915 creation of the Canard enchainé weekly, which used and still uses today satires, cartoons and games of words to pass through censorship.
Though the press is largely unrestricted by law in France, indirect pressures are still denounced by some journalists. They comes from state members in order for instance to prevent publication of materials against the interests of the government or influential industries. Involvement of the government and major industrial groups with press organisations also occurs regularly. The business groups Dassault and Bouygues are for instance well know to be close to the main right-wing party and own many newspapers and TV stations favouring their candidates during elections or the government’s policy when the right is in power. 
To avoid such bad practices, newspapers have developed editorial committees and other tools to protect themselves from owners’ involvement in their investigation.
An example: In 2010, French investigative journalists were accused of uncovering two scandals involving Nicolas Sarkozy during his pre-presidential career, involving ‘L'Oreal’ heiress Liliane Bettencourt and an arms contract in Karachi, Pakistan. But the accusations themselves were finally published all over the press and thus were heralded as a triumph for press freedom. Newspapers and websites like Le Monde, the investigative news website Mediapart, and the satirical and investigative weekly Le Canard Enchainé, gave French people revelation and their reporters exposed the meanderings of the Bettencourt and ‘Karachigate’ scandals.
The culture of investigative journalism seems to have taken root in France, but the collision between politicians and journalists remains slippery. Many French journalists and politicians study in the same universities and gather in the same networks, which is demeaning their independence.
Nonetheless, mainly in the print press, investigative journalists still cherish their independence and do not hesitate to defend it when necessary. In 2010, for instance, shareholders in the French newspaper Le Monde denounced then President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempt to interfering in interfering in the process of selling their newspaper.
But Le Canard enchaîné, a weekly 8-page newspaper remains the main source of investigation in France. It is very independent and unique in many ways, as it has no website and carries no advertising. Above all, it is the only newspaper in France that practices ongoing investigative reporting about politics.

Sources :
http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/arss_0335-5322_2000_num_131_1_2663 : Les révélations du "journalisme d'investigation", par Dominique Marchetti, Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, Année 2000, Volume 131, Numéro 1

CMPF Summer School: Status of journalists (Best practices)

Best Practices nb#1
Status of journalists (professional and/or non-professional, including bloggers)
Case in France
Melissa Chemam
Summer School for Journalists
CMFP, Florence, June 2012
I have been a journalist for seven years, trained in Paris and I have been working as a journalist in France for three years before I moved to report from abroad and finally worked for British media. From this experience, what I can underline as a good practice in France is that the status of journalists is pretty well defined and protected in this European country. Journalist is a respected profession in France, though many struggles especially freelancers and bloggers. Journalists have a specific status and laws are into place to try to protect their work and their independence.
This status of journalists has been defined pretty early in France, in the late nineteenth century and is pretty much the same nowadays. It comes from the 1881 Law on the Freedom of the Press voted on July the 29th 1881, under the French Third Republic - often called Press Law of 1881. The law defines the freedoms and responsibilities of the media and publishers in France and provides a legal framework for publications. It also therefore regulates the display of advertisements on public roads. It has been amended several times since its enactment, but remains in force to the present day.
The text established a number of basic principles, which liberalised the publishing industry, as the law requires only that publishers present their names to the authorities with two copies of their work. The authorities were denied the power to suppress newspapers and délits d'opinion - crimes of opinion, or types of prohibited speech – was then abolished. It also attributes to journalist a professional card, the ‘press card’, and grants them with a tax allowance, two measures aimed at protecting them from financial struggle in order to insure a better editorial independence.
Another important law define the press’ legal framework in France in the audiovisual field, dating from 1982. It made radios and televisions opened to private operators, completely revolutioning the French broadcasting landscape. A large number of other rules finally protect freedom of expression for every kind of press in France.

Finally a Charter of the Professional Duties of French Journalists was adopted by the National Syndicate of French Journalists in 1918 and revised and completed by the Syndicate in 1938. The Loi Guernut-Brachard passed in 1935 also defined the collective labour contract for journalists. The statute was revised in 1956 under the leadership of Marcel Roëls, and then in 1968, 1974, and 1987.


However, we must note that the media landscape in France has changed a lot in recent years: the press is trying to conquer the web (with many popular websites such as Rue 89, Mediapart, etc), the arrival of 14 new, young and very active channels shaking ageing TV landscape with its five major channels, and new technologies “redefining the status of journalists”, according to the European Journalism Centre. “Paradoxically, the press is not doing well but more and more people are trained in journalism schools, while logs are an increasingly legitimate source (and more reactive) than newspapers on certain specialities”, it stated on its website.
According to the BBC country profiles, “France enjoys a free press and has more than 100 daily newspapers; most of them are in private hands and are not linked to political parties”. But it is, in fact, a difficult time for journalists who have encountered a true identity crisis in France.
We can add along with the European Journalism Centre that “the present media landscape in France has its cultural roots in the postwar period, when the state decided to regulate an industry that lost credit after the collaborationist Vichy regime. The state is hence still very present in the written press (via a recently renewed system of subsidies), the TV (with France Televisions as a major actor and its president almost directly appointed by the state), the radio (Radio France group has two stations in the top five in terms of audience), the cinema (with a complex system of subsidies handled by the National Cinematographic Center, or the CNC), and more recently on the Internet (with regulations on cultural products, downloading and property rights known as Hadopi). State-level decisions regarding French media are thus awaited with impatience and are often very important moments”.

CMPF Summer School for Journalists

More details on the Summer School for Journalists organised by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom and the European University Institute in Florence...

We were 32 participants from all over Europe, including Turkey and Kosovo, to take part into the workshop organised from June 11 to 15 in Florence, Italy. 

Details here:


The aim of the School was to identify and shape a common culture and approach to freedom and pluralism of media across Europe, based on theoretical principles and best practices as well as the exchange of ideas and points of view.
Specific focal areas of the summer school are the governance of journalistic activity and the role of investigative journalism for media freedom and democratic dynamics.   

For five days we listened to media and new media experts, from Pier Luigi Parcu to Steven Barnet from the University of Westminster, including Tom Rosenstiel from the Pew Research Center in the US, Alexander Stille rom Columbia University, USA, Dirk Voorhoof from Ghent University, Belgium, and Beata Klimkiewicz from Cracow, Poland.

We are now trying to build a network to try to keep on working on these issues. 

In this goal, our colleague Laura Schneider, PhD candidate at the University of Hamburg, is now conducting a survey on media freedom. If interested, you can find how to participate here:


 I will publish the two presentations I wrote about France in the next blog posts.





El Campo


My latest article, reviewing the Argentinean film 'El Campo', in French, for the website Toute La Culture:

‘El Campo’ de Hernan Belon, réalisateur argentin de documentaire et fiction né en 1970 et formé en Espagne, est un premier long métrage de fiction pour le cinéma. Investigation sur la place d’un homme et d’une femme dans leur propre couple, autour de leur petite fille et au sein d’une maison nouvellement acquise dans la campagne argentine, il s’agit d’un drame psychologique au ton inattendu, mystérieux et presque inquiétant. Un film sensible et intense.
Sortie le 13 juin 2012.



On freedom of the media

Hello folks. I arrived in Florence, Italy, for a seminar on press freedom and legal frameworks for media pluralism and freedom of expression in Europe and the Western world. I will share some thoughts in here soon. For more: http://cmpf.eui.eu/Home.aspx


Journalism in Africa, FCAEA's view


Here is the words from the Foreign Correspondents Association in East Africa, FCAEA,
based in Nairobi, about journalism in Africa:

"The debate over journalism from Africa has heated up over the last few
weeks in the cybersphere, and we're taking it live this week at our
off the record briefing. Join your voice.

Our featured speaker for the night will be Howard W. French. He has
been an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of
Journalism since 2008. For many years, he was a senior writer for the
New York Times, where he spent most of his nearly 23-year career as a
foreign correspondent working and travelling to over 100 countries on
five continents including Africa.

We're also going to welcome representatives from non-governmental
organizations including Crisis Action as well as a few local
personalities in the journalism scene.

If you haven't been following the conversation here's some reading
material to catch you up!"

How Not to Write about Africa, Foreign Policy, Laura Seay, April 25

How Do Journalist Write About Africa, Global Post, Tristan McConnell,
May 29

Nine Signs that Journalism on Africa You've Just Encountered is Trash,
Huffington Post, Imran Garda, June 4


In the thoughts of others: Salman Rushdie

"I’ve gotten more interested in clarity as a virtue, less interested in the virtues of difficulty. And I suppose that means I do have a clearer sense of how people read, which is, I suppose, partly created by my knowledge of how people have read what I have written so far. I don’t like books that play to the gallery, but I’ve become more concerned with telling a story as clearly and engagingly as I can. Then again, that’s what I thought at the beginning, when I wrote Midnight’s Children. I thought it odd that storytelling and literature seemed to have come to a parting of the ways. It seemed unnecessary for the separation to have taken place.

A story doesn’t have to be simple, it doesn’t have to be one-dimensional but, especially if it’s multidimensional, you need to find the clearest, most engaging way of telling it".

Salman Rushdie, The Art of Fiction No. 186

Interviewed by Jack Livings


'El Campo', Argentinean movie by Hernán Belón

I will be at the press screening of Argentinean feature film 'El Campo' this Thursday at 1pm in Paris.

'In The Open' is the English title.
The movie is to be released in France on June 13.

Watch the trailer here:


 Here is the plot summary:

Elisa, a thirty-eight-year old woman, leaves for a week with her husband and young daughter on a vacation to a house in the country.
Everything is going for her: she has a successful professional career, loves her family, has enough money for a comfortable life, and has plans for the future.
After arriving to the country, a strange feeling takes hold of her.
She starts feeling the presence of something that moves the treetops at night, makes the dogs howl, and wanders like the breath of a ghost across the infinite countryside.
A stinging feeling that kills all her certainties.

Argentinean director and screenwriter Hernán Belón co-wrote his feature film debut with Valeria Radivo. It is an Argentinean-French-Italian co-production which had it's world premiere at the International Film Critics Week in Venice 2011.

It tells the story about Elisa and Santiago and their little daughter Mathilda, who leaves their life in Buenos Aires and goes on vacation to a house they have rented in the countryside. The married couple are as happy as any couple in love could be, but already after the first night in their new temporary home, Elisa begins to feel uncomfortable about the place.

More here:


Ahead of the UN Rio + 20 Summit

Hello folks,

this week I'm working on Ethiopia and food security issues ahead of Rio+20 UN Summit.

If you want to share thoughts, feel free!

I visited Bio Economy Africa's farms and projects in Addis Ababa and Assosa in May and met with lots of farmers who have been train to produce more, better and more scientifically and organically.

If you want to know more, get in touch.

Writing about Africa: More on the debate...

Another article reopening the debate about how badly Africa is covered in the media.

I am really interested in the topic, even if I have only lived in Africa for a year, working from Nairobi and reporting about Africa for three years. My idea is that we can only improve.

How not to write about Africa in 2012 – a beginner's guide



I could not agree more with the first sentence of the column:

"Nairobi is a good place to be an international correspondent. There are regular flights to the nearest genocide, and there are green lawns, tennis courts, good fawning service".

is the author of memoir 'One Day I will Write About This Place' and a Kenyan satirist, as he calls himself on Twitter. He is also Director of The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College.  He is the founding editor of the literary magazine 'Kwani?' and won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002.

 This sentence is harsh for Western media and catchy but so true:

"There are five or six places that have not been fully pacified inside the vision of the world as run by the victors of the cold war: North Korea, Gaddafi (that has been dealt with), Somalia, Afghanistan, the women of Africa, and the poor poor people of China, slaving away under the most terrible conditions doing confusing things like refusing to evolve into Europe. Big places where history is still alive – like Russia, China, the Middle East – are to be feared and demonised. Why can't the Egyptians vote for a nice, safe, British-trained economist who once worked for the World Bank?"

Then he continues further:

"If there was a new map, Africa would be divided into three:

1) Tiny flares of horribleness – Mugabe, undemocratic, war, Somalia, Congo;

2) Tiny flares of wonderfulness. Mandela, World Cup, safari. Baby4Africa! A little NGO that does amazing things with black babies who squirm happily in white saviours' hands because they were saved from an African war. My favourites are clitoraid.com and Knickers 4 Africa – which collects used panties for African women;

3) The rest. Lets call this the "vast grassroots". This part of Africa is run by nameless warlords. When the warlords fall, these places are run by grassroots organisations that are funded by the EU and provide a good place to send gap year kids to help and see giraffes at the same time. Grassroots Africa is good for backpacking because it is the real Africa (no AK47s to bother you, no German package tourists). The vast grassroots exists to sit and wait for agents of sustainability (Europeans) to come and empower them".

Because he concludes and again, I so agree:

"What cannot be said is that history came surging to the present. Market capitalism is shaking, and all of a sudden the vast grassroots has oil and copper, and willing, driven and ambitious hands". 

Which consequently leads to add:

"It is not a surprise that, in these days, there is a vast and growing new middle class across the continent: the British, American and European media houses have lost us. Our own are booming, and we are finding deals with CCTV (China) and al-Jazeera. We fly Emirates and Kenya Airways. We make deals with those who see a common and vibrant future being a platform for engagement".

A must read for anyone interested in today's Africa. 


Algeria, Argentina... Sin Fronteras (Cabaret Sauvage, Paris)

Paris is blooming... with arts and music!

Here is my favourite festival looming in July, a mix of musicians from Algeria, Argentina, Latine America and more:




'Le Festival SIN FRONTERAS revient au Cabaret Sauvage pour sa 3e édition du 05 au 29 juillet 2012! La programmation sera dévoilée ds quelques jours'...

Sauvage productions présente
du 05 juin au29 juillet 2012

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Pendant 4 semaines, le Cabaret Sauvage met à l'honneur les musiques du monde. Un festival au reflet du monde actuel : voyageur et à l’écoute de l’air du temps. À proximité du canal, une terrasse conçue comme un lieu de vie, comprendra un espace détente et restauration en plus du chapiteau.

4 semaines pour 4 voyages musicaux :
• Du 05 au 08 juillet 2012 : ALGERIE
• Du 12 au 15 juillet 2012 : AMERIQUE LATINE
• Du 19 au 22 juillet 2012 : BERLIN
• Du 26 au 29 juillet 2012 : JAMAIQUE

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
infoline : 01 42 09 03 09
Parc de la Villette
Accès piéton par le 59 bd Mac Donald


On Turkey's conference about Somalia's future

A conference is currently taking place in Istanbul to support Somalia in a transition process calling for a new constitution and parliament, and the election of a president, by Aug. 20.

 (Villa Somalia, where the TFG stays, in Mogadishu)

I am not lucky enough to be in Turkey this week to cover the conference on Somalia, but here are a few interesting articles to read about it:

From AP:
'Istanbul conference seeks to help Somalia'
ISTANBUL (AP) — International forces cannot solve Somalia's security problems in the long term and the fragile country needs its own strong force to do the job, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday...

By Reuters:

'Turkey tells U.N. and aid donors to move to Somalia'


In The Guardian:

Somalia '90 days from the most momentous event in its recent history'


On The BBC:

Somalia government money 'goes missing'


And from the UN news centre:

End of transition period represents ‘historic starting point’ for Somalia – Ban


Tonight's read

It's 1 and something am in Paris. Tonight was all about writing talks. Here an article marvellously completing the discussion: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4597/the-art-of-fiction-no-28-henry-miller#.T8TjFfwldrc.twitter Good night.