Journalists drilled on conflict sensitive reporting; called to change the narratives

Some Journalists in the Centre region of Cameroon have been schooled on conflict sensitive reporting during a three days training that held at the S.T Muna Foundation in Yaounde.

The journalists drawn from both the private and public press were taught on how to identify a conflict situation and properly report it. It was observed during the training that some of the reasons why stories surrounding conflicts are not properly reported is because the journalists do not totally understand the conflict they are reporting and the different stakeholders involved.

One of the facilitators, Eugene N. Nforngwa of the Africa Knowledge and Policy Center, AKPC made the journalists to understand that a conflict situation must not necessarily be violent. He added that a conflict situation should not only be reported from the sides of the conflicting party but equally from the angle of those directly or indirectly affected by the conflict.

“Usually in a conflict, the protesting party presents their demands. However there are often needs that are not made visible” Eugene said. He furthered by citing an example of people protesting for salary increment who place this as their demand while their need actually could be better living standards.

To this effect, he called on journalists to be able to identify the needs of people in a conflict situation and properly report them. According to him, this could bring to the lamplight issues that were given little or no attention which can be a stepping stone to ending a conflict.

Emphasis was equally made on the choices of words used by journalists when reporting conflicts. They were adviced to avoid using hate language and spin (a form of media bias that clouds a readers view preventing them from getting the exact take of what happened).

At the end of the training, participants were awarded attestations. They expressed their satisfaction for the knowledge acquired so far ” Thanks so much for the training. It was very rich in knowledge and journalism know-how” Ekellem Desmond of the Voice Newspaper said.

“I have been attending workshops/seminars. This is one of the best I have had, in terms of knowledge acquired. The facilitators were simply outstanding.” Ayang Macdonald of the Cameroon Insider added.

The training that held on the 3-5 of September was dubbed “Catalyzing Media for peace and justice in Cameroon”. It was organized by DefyHateNow_WCA in collaboration with the Africa Knowledge and Policy Center, AKPC.

By Moma Sandrine

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