Building capacity of indigenous journalists in Thailand and Cambodia to advance indigenous peoples’ rights
Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world have long faced severe discrimination by societies. In 2015, with the support of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP) organization built the skills of 60 young indigenous journalists in Thailand and in Cambodia to write and produce stories on their communities.
The two basic journalism trainings were organized in July and September 2015 in Surin Province in Thailand and in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. During those trainings, the participants were introduced to journalism and communication, to the role and responsibilities of journalists and to a methodology on how to make and structure a story.
Ms Nittaya Mee, a founding member of the Indigenous Media Network (IMN) in Thailand who benefited from the training, said: “the journalism training conducted in Surin province in Thailand enabled the organization to expand its membership and to create a pool of indigenous journalists making the network’s presence more visible in the Northeast region of Thailand.” She also added that this visibility will be increased with the establishment of the website imnvoices.com, because through this tool the trainees can share stories from their own communities to a wider public.
She mentioned that the training was also helpful for the local indigenous communities because some of the trainees were able to immediately apply their skills and produce reports and stories relevant to their communities. Five participants from the training reported also to the second assembly of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Thailand (CIPT) which has now 190 members with five representatives from each of the 37 indigenous groups across Thailand, established to promote the rights of indigenous peoples in Thailand.
Mr Samin Ngach, an indigenous activist from Cambodia, also reported that the basic journalism training conducted in Phnom Penh enhanced the skills of indigenous media professionals and fostered closer collaboration between indigenous media professionals and other indigenous peoples’ organizations.
The IPDC project also enabled AIPP and its members, through the organization of public fora and dialogues, to bring together different stakeholders, including government officials and leaders of the indigenous communities in each country, to raise public awareness about the rights of indigenous peoples and to advocate for a more inclusive policy.
IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.
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