Sudanese journalists attending “Reporting Elections” training with IPS Africa have been urged to use their responsibility as journalists to tell the stories of ordinary people.
IPS Africa, with support from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, hosted a training workshop for South Sudanese print, radio and television journalists in Nairobi (Kenya) during 15-17 March 2010, to critically examine the role and responsibility of the media during elections reporting.
African Media Initiative (AMI) Executive Director, Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba, one of the guest speakers at the workshop, reminded Sudanese journalists about being responsible in their election reporting to the Sudanese public.
Close to 16 million Sudanese will head to the polls on April 11th for the first time in more than 20 years.
Mr. Ba acknowledged that Sudanese journalists suffered tremendously during the lengthy civil war waged between the North and South, and reiterated that they have a very important role to play in the country’s future.
“I know you have your own feelings and histories and you will face dilemmas in your reporting of the election but you have a responsibility to report accurately to the people.”
Addressing the Pan African Media conference during the media and conflict debate, Mr. Ba re-told the story of the Sudanese journalists and the dilemmas they face in reporting the forthcoming election.
During the final session of the workshop, which ended with a certificate ceremony, the head of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, told journalists they have a responsibility to report with honesty and tell the stories of ordinary people.
Dr. Ibrahim said they should execute their job with honour and take charge of communicating issues. “Don’t just be sensational in reporting on issues”, he added.
Veteran African leader and the former African Union envoy for Darfur, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim said the media plays a very important role in reporting on the forthcoming election but also the referendum due in 2011: “You are in an honourable profession and people’s lives depend on your reportage.”
Both leaders wished the journalists well in their reporting of the April 11th election. Participants also attended the Pan African Media conference on 18 and 19 March, where African presidents including Kenyan President HE Mwai Kibaki and other leaders spoke during the opening session.
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