Thirty journalists drawn from the five partner states of the East African Community (EAC) began a training course on conflict- sensitive journalism in Bujumbura on Friday.
EAC Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Othieno Richard Owora told the journalists that the training brings the number of media professionals trained on regional integration issues to about 100 so far.
“The EAC is committed to further training of East African journalists to ensure reporting of East African activities in a balanced, objective and professional manner.”
In a speech read on his behalf by EAC-GIZ media expert Sukhdev Chhatbar, Mr Owora called upon journalists to step up their coverage of the EAC in order to create a vibrant and informed society on regional issues.
The training, which ends on Tuesday, will be followed by the EAC Peace and Security Conference, which will be held for three-days from November 13-15.
The journalists will take part in the conference, which will among others, bring together about 150 peace and security experts, civil society activists, religious leaders and cabinet ministers. Representatives of non-governmental organisations, politicians, youth, women, media and officials of relevant EAC ministries are also expected to attend.
The objectives of the course are to introduce journalists to conflict resolution and mediation mechanisms; to enhance the media’s understanding on their role in conflictsensitive reporting; and to identify best practices in conflict-sensitive reporting using case studies from East Africa.
Other objectives are to identify special areas of interest to journalists; to facilitate networking of journalists across the region; to create a database of journalists knowledgeable in conflict issues; and to propose acceptable standards, rules and regulations to be followed by journalists in the EAC.
The training workshop, whose participants include both reporters and editors, is facilitated by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Meanwhile, the East African Civil Society Organizations’ Forum (EACSOF) will on November 10 hold a workshop in Bujumbura on “Best Practices on Awareness Raising And Sensitization: Rwanda’s Experiences, Lessons for the Region.” During the workshop, a best practice manual will be launched.
By ISAAC MWANGI of EANA