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Journalists from nineteen African countries met with Mayor Richard Berry to discuss transparency in government.

Journalists from nineteen African countries met yesterday with Mayor Richard Berry to discuss and ask questions about transparency in government and how elected officials can make governments more accountable to its constituents and the media.

Nations represented at the meeting were; Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The journalists were part of a delegation sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists.  The visit to Albuquerque was coordinated locally by the Albuquerque Council for International Visitors, an all volunteer non-profit program working in conjunction with the Institute of International Education.  The delegation requested specifically that Mayor Berry speak to the delegation members about his efforts to make government more transparent and accountable.

"As the Mayor it is a great honor to have opportunities like this meeting to really illustrate the importance of open and transparent government," Mayor Berry said.  "Effective government only happens when our community is well informed.  The media is essential to ensuring the link is always there; where ideas and issues can be debated openly."

The goals of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists include providing these journalists the opportunity to; examine the rights and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy, observe operational practices, standards and institutions of the media in the US, and participate in professional seminars and international symposiums highlighting current trends and challenges in the media profession, foreign affairs reporting and political affairs coverage.

The delegation met previously with Bob Woodward, Associate Editor of the Washington Post, Jeff Johnson, journalist and contributor to MSNBC, and Denise Rolark Barnes, Editor of one of the oldest African owned newspapers in the United States among others.  The delegation returns to African on November 12, 2011.

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