16.06.2016 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Safety of Journalists and Freedom of Expression: Malian Security Forces Trained

Bamako 15 June 2016- The UNESCO Bamako Office, in partnership with the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection and EUCAP Sahel Mali, organized, from 13 to 15 June 2016, at the Peacekeeping School in Bamako, a training workshop on the safety of journalists, freedom of expression and press freedom.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, Colonel Salif Traoré, in the presence of the Head of Mission, EUCAP Sahel Mali, Albretch Conze, the Representative of the Head of the UNESCO Bamako Office, Mrs. Sasha Rubel Diamanka, and the principal trainers, Ian Lafrenière, UNESCO Expert, and Philippe Perez, Expert of EUCAP Sahel Mali.

The training, which gathered over three days thirty participants coming from national police, the gendarmerie, national guard, civil protection, and journalists, aimed to establish more professional relations between security forces and journalists, thereby fostering an enabling environment for freedom of expression for all citizens.

Mrs. Sasha Rubel Diamanka, in her opening speech, recalled that the training program responds to UNESCO’s mission to promote a culture of peace globally through the promotion of communication and information, and specifically through the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The Plan of Action is the first UN Plan at a system wide level that aims to create a safe and secure environment for journalists and media professionals, including social media producers, in conflict and non-conflict situations, and for which UNESCO is the coordinator. Mrs. Sasha Rubel Diamanka, in this framework, reiterated UNESCO’s support to strengthen the media sector in Mali.

The Head of Mission of EUCAP Sahel Mali welcomed the collaboration of his Institution with the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection and the UNESCO Bamako Office, and reiterated his wish to transform this initiative into a sustainable training programme.

The Minister of Security and Civil Protection thanked the UNESCO Bamako Office and the other partners for their joint effort: “I am glad that UNESCO provided its support to this training in Bamako. We need other trainings of this kind and it is a duty of each participant present to share with their colleagues the knowledge acquired during this training.” The Minister then urged the UNESCO Bamako Office to plan and support specific trainings on media and security intended for Malian security forces.

During three days of training, content covered the following themes: security procedures in the field; ways guarantee journalists access to the information they need; communication with media; journalism, democracy and freedom of expression.

Commander Ian Lafrenière, the principal trainer, used a mixed pedagogical approach (presentations, group discussions, sessions of questions and answers and practical exercises) to enable participants to understand the different concepts and topics addressed during the workshop. Concrete recommendations resulting from the training included the need to strengthen confidence and communication between police and journalists, the need to ensure training on the safety of journalists is institutionalized in training institutes of security forces in Mali, and the need to further strengthen the training and professionalism of journalists concerning conflict-sensitive reporting.

The second training session will occur on the 16, 17 and 18 June, with the objective to strengthen the capacity of trainers in the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection on press freedom, freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, ensuring the adoption of a curricula of training on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, as well as media relations intended for training institutes of security forces in Mali.

To learn more about this training, listen to the radio show on Studio Tamani, Mali, with Mahamadou Z Sidibé, Deputy General Director of the National Police of Mali, Commander Ian Lafrenière, Police of Montréal, Canada, Celia Almeida, Journalist from Le Journal Du Mali, and Sasha Rubel Diamanka, Regional Advisor for the Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO Dakar Regional Office;

Link: http://www.studiotamani.org/index.php/dialogues/8010-la-situation-securitaire-au-mali-les-forces-de-securite-et-la-liberte-d-expression-et-de-la-presse

This project received a support from the Kingdom of Norway.

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