The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the venue for a one-day seminar devoted to the role of information and communication and development cooperation organized by IPS – Inter Press Service and Link 2007, a key network of Italian NGOs. The event was supported by the Italian Development Cooperation Directorate and the Italian National Press Federation (FNSI).
The seminar aimed to open a dialogue among journalists covering development cooperation issues and NGO communication officers, to give them the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences to better tackle problems and opportunities.
Mario Lubetkin, IPS Director General and Giangi Milesi, Cesvi NGO President presented the event and the Italian Director General for Development Cooperation Elisabetta Belloni opened the meeting. The morning panel, moderated by Lele Pinardi of Cosv NGO counted with the participation of Nino Sergi, Intersos Secretary General, Mario Ajello, Editor of Il Messaggero daily, Franco Siddi, Secretary General FNSI and Caterina Torcia, CSR Vodafone Manager.
Olga del Río Sánchez, Coordinator of Development Cooperation Masters at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, presented a study carried out in Spain by the journalism department at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in partnership with IPS and the Spanish Agency for International Development Co-operation, AECID, of nine mainstream Spanish, French and British newspapers which revealed that only 3.5 % of their content is devoted to news about development co-operation. You may access it here (Spanish only) “La Prensa y la Cooperacion Internacional“.
The afternoon panel, moderated by IPS Director General, tried to find ways and create channels to improve mechanisms of information and communication between civil society and the media. Introductions were given by Maurizio Massari, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Service Chief and Marco Tarquinio, Avvenire newspaper Director.
The event gathered more than 60 participants from mainstream media and specialized media llike Il Giornale, La Repubblica, RAI TG3, Rai News, RAI Radio3, Lettera22 News Agency, AGImondoONG, TG5, Famiglia Cristiana weekly, as well as civil society, private sector, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UN organizations, experts working in this area and journalists who joined lively debates.
Participants concluded that Italian media show little interest in development cooperation and the wider issues of foreign and global politics, while they’re too focused on internal politics. According to specialized journalists, readers do show a great interest in global and development subjects, and the media should try to respond to their expectation. It also emerged that there is lack of expertise in this field and proper media training is needed.
Major interest was expressed by many participating to continue the work started with this seminar.
In the press (Italian only):More about: Civil society, Europe & Mediterranean, Providing news and content