TOP executives from African media houses gather in Lagos on Thursday for two days of consultations on how to sustain the development of good journalism on the continent, writes Boakai Fofana for

Owners, publishers and editors will join panel discussions on topics ranging from the media and governance to the challenges and opportunities of digital media and the monetization of content.

The discussions will take place at the second meeting of the African Media Leadership Forum (AMLF), a group which held its inaugural meeting in Dakar, last year.

The first meeting of the forum resolved to invite African governments, the African Union Commission and regional African organizations "to take proactive steps in creating conditions conducive for promoting media as partners for achieving sustainable development on the African continent."

The Dakar conference also acknowledged that media professionals needed to strengthen their competencies and improve their skills and knowledge.

Ahead of this year's event, which has adopted the theme "Shaping the Future of the African Media," AMLF founding chairman, THISDAY editor-in-chief Nduka Obaigbena, expressed the hope that "AMLF will open new horizons to each and every one of us so that strong and lasting partnerships can be built among and between African news organizations."

Amadou Mahtar Ba, co-founder and president of AllAfrica Global Media, said the current era was a defining moment for the media worldwide. Ba said African media leaders have an acute awareness of the challenges and opportunities they are facing. "They also understand the powerful force they represent when they work together and the great impact their voices can have on ongoing debates."

Conference organizers are hopeful that the AMLF, as the only gathering of the continent's media executives from print, broadcast, online and new media sectors, can be a strong force for improving the quality of journalism. Vice President Jonathan Goodluck of Nigeria will attend the opening ceremony of the forum.

Other conference participants include Dele Olojede, founder of Nigeria's NEXT newspaper and Africa's only winner of the U.S. Pulitzer Prize for journalism, and U.S. media personalities Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the renowned online medium, the Huffington Post, Ted Koppel, formerly anchor of the prestigious ABC Nightline news program and John Lavine, dean of the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University in Illinois.