JHR and SLAJ train journalists on human rights reporting on COVID-19
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) have completed human rights training for journalists in the Northern, Eastern, and Southern parts of Sierra Leone.
The trainees were selected following a call for application for the training. A total of 22 journalists in the North, and 27 in the South and East took part in the training. For the North, the training took place in Makeni city on Friday, 16th April, 2021 at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) multi-purpose hall while the South and East took place in Bo city on Saturday, 17th April, 2021 at Classic Radio FM hall. The training for the Western Area Urban and Rural will be held this week in Freetown.
The training is meant to capacitate journalists who will be applying for human rights reporting training fellowship. A total of 93 Human Rights Journalism Fellowship will be awarded to journalists across Sierra Leone. The selected journalists are required to submit story ideas for news feature stories focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on Human Rights in Sierra Leone with a special focus on the rights of women and children and misinformation as part of Mobilizing Media in the Fight against Covid-19 Program.
Addressing participants via Zoom during the training in Makeni, JHR’s Project Coordinator in South Sudan and West Africa Region B (Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and The Gambia), Jima Francis Wani Abrama said they are pleased to work with SLAJ and journalists in Sierra Leone on this project and they look forward to seeing interesting human rights stories from the Group B region.
“This is a big opportunity for journalists in Sierra Leone to have the knowledge and experience on how to produce good human rights stories. This is in a bid to enhance specialized reporting in the Sierra Leone media and for Sierra Leonean journalists to take advantage of the opportunity and try to mainstream human rights reporting in their work,” said Jima.
He added: “We want to also ensure equal participation of male and female journalists in this project so we have gender balance which is key for us. At the end of the day, it’s about Africa and improving African journalism.”
The President of SLAJ, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, who traveled with the trainers to supervise the training, said that it is not just important for journalists to know and understand human rights and their principles but to know how they work during emergencies like COVID-19.
“During emergencies like COVID-19 human rights violations occur in a variety of ways and at different levels in the efforts of Government and its agencies to address the situation; sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. The ability of journalists to understand this dynamic and be able to investigate and bring out real human rights stories is what this project is all about,” said Nasralla.
Topics covered in the training sessions include Human Rights and Human Rights Reporting, Freedom of Expression and Misinformation on COVID-19, and PANEL in Journalism.
After the training, the next stage is for the journalists to pitch story ideas, produce and broadcast/publish the stories and then present them to the trainers. Each story that meets the standards will be paid for by JHR through their partner SLAJ as follows: radio and newspaper stories US$110; and television stories US$160.
“Each story will be paid after a proof of the story being published or broadcast and the copy is with SLAJ,” said Jima.
The project, Mobilising Media to Fight COVID-19 (MMFS)- funded by Global Affairs Canada, is part of activities marking SLAJ at 50 with the theme: ‘Towards a free and responsible media’.