As the world seemingly stumbles from one catastrophe to the next, African and Turkish experts on international relations and the media gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to discuss the origins and the future of the international order and disorder.
There is an increasing attempt to bring order to the international system, said Kilic Bugra Kanat, the Washington research director at the SETA Foundation think tank, speaking at the panel “International (dis)order in the age of constant crisis” held under the Turkiye-Africa Media Summit.
“There is understanding that what happened in one country doesn’t stay in that country,” Kilic said at the event, which was organized by Turkiye’s Communications Directorate.
He voiced hope that difficult issues and challenges, such as the pandemic and climate crisis “would be a lesson for countries in the world and the international community to start the process of reform in international organizations.”
Alongside Kanat were Ahmet Uysal, head of the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Studies (ORSAM); Feseha Yetagsu Manbegrot, CEO of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC); and Buki Ponle, managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN); moderator Oguz Guner, chief of the Communications Directorate’s Department of Public Diplomacy.
For his part, Uysal pointed out that more symptoms pointed to the lack of international order, such as the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, which had no international legal basis.
Uysal argued that a new world order had arisen, in which globalization feeds social media and media organizations enjoy vast resources and money.
Speaking in turn, the EBC’s Manbegrot underlined the media’s role in the current international system.
He said Africa needs to focus on nation-building through the media and journalism, stressing: “We need to focus on solutions journalism, and ways to give the people an alternative voice so that they can speak and their interests should lead the country.”
Ponle, meanwhile, underlined that journalism should always strive for good order and peace in the international arena.
The two-day summit kicked off on Wednesday, marking Africa Day on May 25.
A range of issues were discussed, including post-pandemic challenges in journalism, journalism under digital siege, and women in journalism.
Among the participants were 80 members of the media from 45 African countries, African diplomats, public officials, and civil society members.
The program aims to strengthen Ankara’s cooperation with African media outlets and professionals.