The ACP/EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), together with its partners, is holding an international seminar on the "Role of the media in agricultural development in ACP countries” (Central, East, Southern and West Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific). The seminar will be held in Brussels, Belgium from 12 to 16 October 2009. 

Its aim is to:

- Contribute to the preparation of strategies for media capacity building with regard to access and dissemination of information on key issues for the ACP agricultural sector;
- Strengthen communication links between the media and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector;
- Contribute to the identification of media support programmes;

The meeting will be attended by over 120 experts from the six ACP regions, EU national institutions and regional and international organizations who represent the main professions at the interface of media, agriculture and rural development. 

More detailed information is available on the seminars website: http://annualseminar2009.cta.int

As part of the run-up to the seminar, CTA wishes to organize an e-discussion on the themes of the seminar.

II. ELECTRONIC DISCUSSION

2.1. Purpose of the electronic discussion

The aim of the electronic discussion is to allow experts to share their opinions and thoughts on the seminar topics. It also provides an opportunity for people not attending the seminar to contribute their ideas on these topics.

2 .2 Target groups

Experts representing the main actors at the interface of media, agriculture and rural development: journalists of the written press, rural)radio and television, researchers and other member of the press, press people, communication specialists in public services and development projects, rural communities, NGOs, decision-makers and experts in new emerging media from the six ACP regions (West, Central, East and Southern Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific), national institutions in EU countries and regional and international organisations.

2.3. E-discussion participants

Invitations to the e-discussions will be sent to experts and practitioners who:

• participated in the e-discussion for the international seminar on climate change and sustainable agricultural production systems in ACP countries;
• are partners in CTA in media-related activities;
• are on the contacts lists drawn up subsequent to the INFOIR activities;
• submit abstract proposals and/or have registered for the seminar:
• have been recommended by CTA partners or members of the seminar steering committee.

More than 2,000 experts on media issues and agricultural and rural development in ACP countries have signed up for the e-discussion.

2.4. Languages

To allow all experts involved in the e-discussion to participate more actively, the e-discussion will be held in French and English simultaneously. The discussion stimulated by each of the questions will be summarised and made available in both languages.

2.5 Themes and objectives of the discussions

2.5.1. The seminar will cover a variety of themes that will be treated by e-discussion experts with very different profiles. The challenge is to organise the e-discussion in a way that will allow everyone to participate actively. Discussion questions have, therefore, been designed with this challenge in mind.

The electronic discussion should contribute to suggestions on:

• capacity-building strategies for the media in relation to issues that are essential for agricultural and rural development in ACP countries;
• The necessary ways and means to involve the media more closely in the process of formulating ACP agriculture development strategy;
• Guidelines for media support programmes and the identification of media capacity development needs;
• Strategies to encourage funding agencies and donors to be more aware of the need for sufficient resources to establish actions plans for strengthening media activities in the agricultural sector; and suggestions on how to co-ordinate donor funding to avoid duplication of efforts;

• Strategies, and priorities, for promoting information exchange throughout media networks on successful media practices and experiences that relate to major agricultural and rural development themes.

2.5.2. The following four series of questions derived from the seminar themes will be proposed.

1. Media coverage of agricultural and rural development

(a) To which of the following themes would you like to contribute in the e-discussion? (select no more than 2).

• Media and climate change
• Media and gender equality
• Media and water management
• Media and arid zones
• Media and post-harvest technologies
• Media and the marketing of agricultural products
• Media and agricultural extension and learning
• Other (please specify)

(b) What are the main constraints facing media in ACP countries in obtaining sufficient, (in quantity and quality) and up-to-date information sources on the theme you selected?

(c ) Give examples of successful experiences of ACP media in obtaining sufficient (in quantity and quality) up-to-date information sources, and management/financial support, that have met the needs of their public on the theme selected.

2. Communication between media and other actors in agricultural and rural development

(a) What do the following actors in agricultural and rural development expect from the media in ACP countries?
• political decision-makers, governments, planners;
• researchers;
• funding agencies and donors;
• development agents and NGOs;
• rural communities.

(b) What do the media expect from each of the aforementioned actors in agricultural and rural development?

(c) Give evidence of the difficulties, and/or instructive experiences and best practices, encountered in collaboration between the media and agricultural and rural development actors .

(d) What do these actors need to do to build awareness and credibility with regard to the role of the media in agricultural and rural development?

3. Media and funding for agricultural development

(a) Where and how do funding agencies and other donors recognise the role and importance of media in agricultural and rural development? How can this be further strengthened?

(b) How can the media help to build up awareness about the need for mobilising public and private investments in the agricultural and rural sector in ACP countries?

4. Media capacity-building

(a) What are constraints that restrict the role of the media in agricultural and rural development?

? At an organisational and institutional level;
? At a professional and technical level.

(b) What are the specific capacity-building needs for journalists and editors/producers of the following media?
• print;
• television;
• radio including community radios;
• new, emerging media.

(c ) How can collaboration be improved between media professionals of ministries of agriculture and rural development, and other media groups? Where is this already happening?

(d) Give examples of how new emerging media are contributing to improving the dissemination of information to rural communities? What strategies have been (or should be) implemented to overcome connectivity problems caused by electricity shortages in rural areas?

2.6 Facilitation

WRENmedia will provide two communication consultants Susanna Thorp and Laurence Lalanne-Devlin to moderate the CTA e-discussion. These two consultants will each take responsibility for the English (Susanna Thorp) and French (Laurence Lalanne) discussions but will work together to provide a single one-two page summary report at the end of each theme, and also for the final six-page report, which will summarise the overall discussions.

To avoid repetition and ensure quality, the emails will be read first by the discussion moderators before being sent to all the participants.

E-mail contributions to the discussion may include:

• direct response to points of discussion raised;
• questions and suggestions for further points of discussion;
• explanations of your personal involvement with the point of discussion and your perspectives;
• documents you wish to share on your personal experiences, research data or new research results.

To avoid overloading participants’ mailboxes, large messages will be sent to the participants in the form of a short summary with a link to the full document. In addition, all messages and contributions will be posted in the section entitled "electronic conference publications". At the end of each session the main points of the e-discussion will be summarised by the e-conference moderators and made available to all the participants.

2.7 Implementation schedule

The electronic discussion will last 11 weeks (from 29 July to 09 October 2009). The calendar suggested below can be adjusted in keeping with the discussion.

Dates
Activities

10-24 July 2009
• Announcement of electronic discussion on CTA seminar site and on partners’ websites
• Preparation of e-discussion participants list.
29July-7th August 2009
Discussion of 1st question
10-18 August 2009
Summary of 1st question
20-28th August 2009
Discussion of 2nd question

31-4th Sept 2009
Summary of 2nd question
7-16 September 2009
Discussion of 3rd question

17-22 September 2009
Summary of 3rd question

23 September – 2nd October
Discussion of 4th question
1-9 Oct 2009
Summary of 4th question and Overall summary

12 - 31 October 2009
- Publication of overall report, on the various sites
- Presentation of e-discussion results at seminar.

Download the flyer here: http://annualseminar2009.cta.int/pdf/MediaSeminarFlyer09-en.pdf

Sunday, 11 October, 2009 to Thursday, 15 October, 2009