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Western Equatoria Journalists embrace training on GBV and Media Law

By David Mono Danga

In efforts to equip state journalists with ethical reporting skills, the Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) reached out to train journalists in Yambio, Tambura, Nzara and Maridi towns.

The training facilitated by the organization’s institute, The Media Development Institute brought together 28 radio presenters and reporters to Yambio for a three-day training between Oct – 3rd and 6th that focused on reporting on Gender Based Violence, understanding the media laws of South Sudan and the Safety and Security of the journalists while covering these stories.

The Journalists embraced the training saying it was vital to understand the international and local Media that guides reporters to be ethical in their reporting on sensitive issues like Gender Based Violence [GBV].

Chieku Susan, the participant’s representative and one of the lactating mothers who attended the training said the training was an eye opener to some gender based violence cases that affect the communities of Western Equatoria in general.

“We have been attending other trainings but not the way you conducted it. You did it practically,” Suzan said referring to the real time practical lesson on Safety and Security.

She urged AMDISS to also conduct trainings that also targets state authorities to enlighten the officials on the roles of journalists.

Her colleague Gaaniko Peter said the sessions on GBV enlightened him on how he can cover GBV stories.

“I realized that gender based violence happens in our communities but people are silent about it,” Peter said, adding that “I got basic ideas on covering GBV like conducting Talk Shows or doing documentaries after interviewing relevant knowledgeable sources about it (GBV).”

In her part, Hipaingba Bernadita said she enjoyed every activity as far as the media training was concerned. She said she is now aware of the ethics of journalism and her safety while in the field.

“The training has been so perfect. I now know how to dress when I am sent to the field and how to react when approached by the authorities,” Bernadita said. She advised female journalists to step up and fill the gap in the media.

“We (women) should not be shy. We can do what men can do. Let us pull up our shocks such that we can be valued,” Bernadita urged.

Stephen Bakindo, the Program Manager of Maridi FM said journalistic trainings are vital to promote ethical coverage of community stories. “Without such trainings, journalists in South Sudan will not be able to feed the community with relevant, accurate and truthful news,” Bakindo stressed.

The Anisha Radio – Yambio journalists emphasized that media trainings are sought-after by the state media practitioners but opportunities are lucking. In response to that, the Principle of The Media development Institute said as long as there is funding, the AMDISS will always go and train journalists on even broader subjects.

He said the insecurity in the country is a setback to many developmental projects but hopes that the peace deal holds such that everything normalizes.

“In our plan as AMDISS, our intention or objective is to comeback at least three times. Our interest is to continue with you people,” Hakim explained.

He applauded the journalists’ desire to learn as shown by being proactive throughout the sessions.

The government of Gbudue state has been so supportive of media activities in Yambio. This was witnessed by the Director General in the Ministry of Information’s commitment during the course of the training.

In his closing remarks, DG Zingbondo Jeremiah Emmanuel praised AMDISS and MDI for delivering the best media training he had ever attended.

“We have ever conducted workshops pertaining journalism but they were not as good as yours,” GD Emmanuel commended.

He urged the radio presenters and station managers to take gender based violence cases serious and advocate for the rights of the survivors through their programs.

“Those of you who have acquired this knowledge, make sure you use it and disseminate it to your colleagues. If you don’t ‘score the goals’ after you have acquired these knowledge, the blame will come back to us,” the DG lamented.

Emmanuel advised that, the journalists should not give up on the country even if the government is struggling to facilitate media activities and trainings in the state.

The training was conducted by AMDISS and MDI in partnership USAID and Internews.

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