08.10.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Western Equatoria journalists trained on Conflict Sensitive and Human Rights Oriented Reporting

22 Journalists from Radios Anisa, Yambio FM and Radio Centenary FM (c)UNESCO

UNESCO in collaboration with UNMISS Human Rights Department and Anisa FM, Radio Centenary and Radio Yambio FM have conducted a 2-day training on conflict sensitive and human rights oriented reporting in Yambio. Over thirty participants from Gubdue, Amadi and Maridi states including journalists and civil society organizations representatives attended the workshop that took place from 3- 4 October 2018.

The training was aimed at building the capacity of journalists, editors, and civil society members on how to report in post-conflict environment without further fueling the conflict by using derogatory terms, biased reporting or unnecessarily focusing only on incidents.

It focused on basic principles of conflict sensitive reporting which includes the accuracy, impartiality and professionalism in reporting. The participants engaged in interactive discussions and exercises aimed to recognize stereotypes and take preventive measures in their everyday work in in order to prevent stereotypes perpetuation while also mindful of the danger of hate speech in fueling the conflict.

Hon. Hussein Enoka, Minister of Information of Gbudue state in his opening remarks welcomed the initiative by UNESCO and UNMISS Human Rights Department in training journalists in the area of Conflict Sensitive and Human rights oriented reporting and express the need for more trainings in the future “This type of training is what the Government of Gbudue was longing for, we thank UNMISS and UNESCO for offering this opportunity to our journalists and I hope it will improve their skills in reporting conflict related issues.” Hon Enoka stated.

Mr. Dzemal Calakovic, UNMISS Human Rights Officer, encouraged journalists to pay attention to inflammatory reporting such as use of derogatory words or negative attributes especially towards other tribes/ethnicities. “Our objective was to enhance the knowledge of journalists on how to identify hate speech and other elements that fuel rather than reduce the conflict.” Mr. Calakovic said.

The participants had an opportunity to discuss some more subtle forms of conflict sensitive reporting that goes much beyond the widely accepted definitions of hate speech and incitement to violence. They have learned how to refrain from communicating hateful messages and at the same time to be the drivers of peace as well as gender sensitive reporting.

As a result of the training, the participating journalists are expected to produce and broadcast twenty (20) stories at their respective radio stations on peace and reconciliation to measure their understanding of the subject.

The workshop was organized with the support from the United Nations project “Strengthening Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan” which is supported by United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

UNESCO is collaborating with various UN agencies and media associations to implement activities aimed at strengthening the role of media in peacebuilding initiatives for lasting peace and sustainable development in South Sudan.

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