Country Director of a Canadian non governmental organization, Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), Gbanabom Hallowell has disclosed in Freetown that his organization has over the past 18 months trained over a hundred and fifty local reporters from 90% of the media houses in Sierra Leone.
"JHR has certified successful reporters in Human Rights and Investigative Reporting and many other modules," he said.
Mr. Hallowell says JHR trainers have been working one-on-one with local reporters to investigate stories on issues of civic, political and socio-economic rights, while adding that three cohorts of JHR who recently arrive in the country on a seven-month assignments have been conducting workshops in specific media houses, while providing on-the-job training for reporters.
"After several in-country consultations, JHR is now launching a new program known as Sierra Leone Community Media Forum (SALCOMEF)," he said, adding: "For the next two years, JHR will engage the media, civil society organizations, gender and youth groups among others, to dialogue in our monthly community forums all over the country."
Mr. Hallowell says learning from the Zambian experience; the JHR forum will engage areas including applied discourse, advocacy and lobbying, networking and Mentoring and capacity building.
"The applied discourse forum will carry out a discourse on issues affecting community media operations," he said, while adding that it is specifically designed to address organizers’ concern that there has not been enough information generation and sharing on community media initiatives and issues in Sierra Leone.
He says the advocacy and lobbying forum seeks to respond to a perceived under-representation of the interests of the community media in media reform processes by engaging policymakers, media broadcast regulators and other stakeholders in effort to improve the context within which this sector operates.
"The networking and mentoring forum seeks to build local partnerships and maintain an interactive dialogue with local, national and international organizations that have similar objectives," he said, while adding that it will be offering a platform and meeting place for community media initiatives to interact and share experiences.
Mr. Hallowell further states that the capacity building project hopes to improve the quality of service delivery among the community media sector through its various community management training programmes so that community-relevant and developmental programmes are produced.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.