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Journalists, human rights defenders trained on digital communication

Nov 3, 2010, 12:36 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh just from Dakar

A five-day training course for journalists and human rights defenders on digital communication from fifteen member states of Ecowas ended recently in Dakar, Senegal.

The training, held from 22 to 26 October 2010 at the Pullman Trangara Hotel in Senegal was organised by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in collaboration with Tactical Tech.

The training that drew participants from both French-speaking and English-speaking countries was within the framework of OSIWA, the ICT and Media programme, who are mandated to develop the capacity of media practitioners on key issues across the continent.

The training, according to the organisers, aimed at also increasing the fight against the violation of human rights and abuse of journalists in West Africa. It has therefore become more important to provide journalists with the tools they need to continue their work in secured and safe environment.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, the executive director of OSIWA, Dr Nana Tanko, thanked the participants for answering the call of different countries in West Africa.

She pointed out that her organization aims at offering more training to equip all front-line advocates for the protection of human rights defenders with the skills to deliver as expected of them.

Dr Nana said the training should not be viewed as a competition to prove who is most knowledgeable; rather it is an opportunity to deepen the understanding of human rights defenders and journalists and to also learn new skills about computer.

“Our goal is to equip ourselves with better understanding of how to build security capacity among individuals and organisations that work with NGOs and non-profit-making organisations,” she stated.

She also said the training was also to prepare and empower the frontline advocates to fight for human rights not only in Africa but the world in general.

She urged the participants to disseminate the knowledge gained from the forum to their colleagues who could not to take part in it.

“Apart from learning and sharing, much of what we are trying to accomplish is the building of new relationships and establishing support that will serve to bind us all together beyond this training,” she said.

Series of lectures were delivered at the forum, which included how to create and maintain security and sensitive information, as well as how to remain anonymous and bypass censorship on the Internet and how to protect sensitive files on computers.