International Sports Press Association (AIPS) leaders, led by President Gianni Merlo, have called on sports journalists across the Africa continent to exercise independence and objectivity in their profession to bring change and promote good governance within the sporting industry.
Merlo is in the country to oversee a four-day AIPS-Africa Congress that started on Saturday and is being held for the first time in East and Central African region and has attracted delegates from 28 countries among them AIPS-Africa president Mitchell Obi and AIPS vice president Evelyn Watta.
Speaking during official opening of the elective congress, Merlo challenged the various sports association head in attendance to educate their members on the need for unity and investing in women and young journalists to be agents of the much-needed changes in governance.
“The public demands fairness in reporting for the various sporting disciplines and that should be our code of conduct. Our reporting should be devoid of influence from any quarters. This will ensure we exercise ethical reporting, transparency, legitimacy, independence and answerable accountability,” offered Merlo.
The Italian sports journalist also emphasised on the importance of sports journalist taking their job beyond reporting and assuming the responsibility of educating athletes on doping and calling out corruption, the two vices that have tarnished the sporting industry not only in Africa but globally.
On his part Sports permanent secretary Kirimi Kaberia who graced the opening ceremony drew attention to the importance of integrity and accountability of all stakeholders in the industry.
“As we report and influence public opinion on sports, let us also use the opportunity to spread messages of peace, social harmony and global cohesion. Sports transcend the social, economic, cultural, racial and religious divide as it appeals to the sensibilities of all humanity hence its capacity to create understanding and unite humanity,” said Kaberia.
The PS reiterated the government’s commitment to developing sports infrastructure, as a way of empowering the youth by giving them avenues to nurture their talent, urging reporters to ensure the people dealing with the young athletes across the board are of integrity.
“As we reflect on areas of cooperation, we realize the need to build the capacity of our sports men and women. I call upon you to work with sports federations, clubs and individual sports people to enhance their skills in branding and expressing themselves.
This will go a long way in enhancing their marketing value,” Kaberia added. The congress is set to elect their new leaders today, with the new office bearers having a task at hand of ensuring good governance and new ways of revolutionising the industry.