UNESCO assists unemployed Haitian journalists
UNESCO, in cooperation with the Association of Haitian Journalists (AHJ), set up an assistance programme for journalists who lost the jobs in the aftermath of the earthquake of 12 January 2010. Cultural, historical, educational and humanitarian reports produced by journalists in the framework of this programme have been broadcast since 15 October 2010 by several partner media.
Journalists participating in the programme - about twenty in total - were meeting twice a week in the AHJ premises in Baz Lambi, Pétionville, to discuss the topics of their reports with the chief editor of the programme.
"We used a participative method," explains Pierre Manigat Junior, former chief editor of the oldest daily newspaper in Haiti. "Reports were presented to all journalists, who judged the quality of the work accomplished in the framework of the programme. You always learn a lot from the work of others. I was the most impressed by the fact that journalists didn't behave as stars, but had a true curiosity and a will to learn. We also had an advantage of working without pressure, the most important being the quality of products."
Besides the urgent financial assistance to journalists who lost their jobs since 12 January, this UNESCO programme aimed at producing information reports for the entire population of Haiti. From 15 October 2010 to 15 January 2011, twelve 30-minute cultural reports and twelve reports on the history of Haiti were broadcast weekly by the National Radio of Haiti.
The themes of these reports included:
<li>seismic risk for the Citadelle Laferrière (inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List);
<li>state of the built heritage of Haiti following the earthquake;
<li>Fort Jacques et Fort Alexandre ;
<li>Centre of Haitian Art in Port-au-Prince;
<li>history of relations between Haiti and Venezuela;
<li>relations between Haiti and Cuba, Haiti and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Participants also produced 10-minute audio programmes, and written reports on humanitarian and educational topics.
"This programme motivated participating journalists. But it was not a gift, we had to make an effort," says Belmondo Ndengué, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, who found a job since then. "When you are active and make efforts that are rewarded, you feel good. Although this help was limited, it was a real reassurance for unemployed journalists."
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