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Participants From 16 Commonwealth Countries On Five-day Journalism Workshop

Nov 5, 2008, 5:22 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

A press release issue by The Gambia Press Union last Saturday revealed that young journalists from 16 AfricanCommonwealth countries will be put through their paces on critical problems facing the planet and its people during a five-day development journalism workshop entitled: "Commonwealth Africa Workshop for Young Journalists on development journalism and the MDGs". The workshop will have a particular focus on climate change in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Monday the 3rdto Friday the 7thof November 2008.

According to the release, the 20 participants are print and radio journalists from Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The workshop will be formally opened by Mr. Reginald Mengi, chairman, IPP media, Tanzania. This training project is organised by the Commonwealth Press Union in partnership with The Commonwealth Foundation and in association with the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association andthe Commonwealth Journalists Association.

The local partner is REPOA Research on Poverty Alleviation in Dar es Salaam. The workshop is directed at helping young journalists to understand the issues that stand in the way of the socio-economic development of their countries with particular focus on climate change. They will be taught how best use the media to address these issues and help the public and decision-makers reach informed opinions.

However, an important theme running through the workshop will be the problems raised by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) agreed to in 2000 by nearly 190 world leaders who gave their countries 15 years to try and achieve the eight target goals. This training workshop, according to the release, underlines the belief that the media have a vital role to play in the development process. Equally the Commonwealth Press Union and The Commonwealth Foundation believe that the media has a social responsibility too in educating the public on these critical issues and providing the space for civil society to articulate its views on matters of concern.

The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation resourced by and reporting to the Commonwealth Governments and guided by Commonwealth values and priorities. Its mandate is to strengthen civil society in the achievement of Commonwealth priorities- democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable, people-centred development and to promote arts and culture.

The release concludes that the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) is an association whose members are newspapers and news agencies. The CPU aims to monitor and oppose any measures or proposals likely to affect the freedom of the press, they work to improve facilities for reporting and transmitting news, and to promote the training of all involved in the commonwealth's press fraternity.