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SLAJ, partners to train journalists across the country

SLAJ, partners to train journalists across the country

FreetownThe Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, with funds from the UN children’s fund (UNICEF), will from Wednesday 29 June start four 2-day training programmes on reporting on children and on emergencies targeting 100 journalists throughout the country.

“It is vital that journalists grasp children’s issues and how to tackle them in the best interest of the next generation” says SLAJ President Umaru Fofana, adding that the training will provide impetus for issues dealing with children to take centre stage yet again but handled by journalists in the way it should. With the height of the rainy season approaching, among other emergencies and possible disasters, it is also good to prepare the skills of journalists on reporting on emergencies.

As a way of moving trainings outside the provincial headquarter towns to areas where they are most needed, the workshops will for the first time be held in Pujehun, Koidu and Kabala. On 29 – 30 June 25 journalists from all the districts in the Southern Province will assemble in Pujehun, while on 2 – 3 July another 25 from all over the Eastern Province will converge in Kono. Kabala will host those in the Northern Province on 5 – 6 July; with the final leg happening in Freetown on 8 – 9 July where journalists from three radio stations in Waterloo will for the first time join those from Tombo to be trained with their colleagues in Freetown.

The training will emphasise on editorial and ethical issues surrounding reporting on children and what the law says about their rights and how to safeguard them. It will also look at how journalists should respond to emergency situations. Since discussion programmes are the most common means of transmitting information on radio, they will be trained on how to moderate such programmes as they relate to children’s and other issues.

The team of facilitators will include the Head of the Mass Communication Department at Fourah Bay College Isaac Massaquoi, Child Rights Advocate and veteran journalist, Pat Lewis and the SLAJ President and BBC correspondent Umaru Fofana.

Meanwhile on Monday 27 June 2011 at the British Council Auditorium, Tower Hill, Freetown a 2-day capacity building training on tobacco control in Sierra Leone will bring together 20 media practitioners from both the print and electronic media and 10 members from non-governmental organisations. The training is aimed at increasing the knowledge base of participants on the risks of tobacco use, which are major factors for non-communicable diseases that are increasingly threatening the development of the country.

It is expected that at the end of the training on Tuesday, a media advocacy alliance will be formed to educate the general public about the negative effects of tobacco use. The training is being organised by the Action for Development – Sierra Leone in partnership with SLAJ.

As the prime media union in the country, we would like to reiterate our call on All Media and Development Partners to cooperate with us and with the IMC to ensure relevant, structured and well-coordinated media trainings that will not only sharpen the skills and knowledge base of media practitioners but will also brighten the media landscape in the country especially so as we approach presidential and general elections next year.

SLAJ, Freetown

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