One of UNESCO’s mission is to assure that information is made and remains accessible to everyone. With this idea in mind, the organization once again developed a workshop on investigative journalism during the election period in Uganda.
The event took place at the Doves Nest Hotel in Gulu, Uganda from 27 to 29 January 2016, and brought together 12 participants, 4 women and 8 men, who belonged to four community radio stationsnamely: Speak FM, Mama FM, Radio Apac and Nakaseke community radio.
The lead trainer was Mr. Victor Bwire, the Deputy Chief Executive officer and Programs Manager of the Media Council of Kenya along with one facilitator from each of the community radio stations. The workshop was planned and conducted to prepare the staff of the community radio stations on how to expose matters that are concealed during the election period and the possible issues arising from it to the public
The training therefore mainly highlighted the use of investigative journalism techniques to expose issues of local public concern during elections, with use of a specific example of campaign coverage. Trainers believed as essential to teach community radio journalists how to produce stories with verified secret and open sources.
Additionally, the workshop activities were specially focused on documentation techniques in order to avoid subjective positioning coming from personal excitement or blind journalism during the elections. Trainers insisted on the fact that good investigative journalism requires that the community radio journalists work within the laws and media policies of the country and follow a professional code of ethics.
Overall, the training delved then deep into setting professional standards, a necessary code of ethics in investigative journalism, and the proper role of the journalists at the different stages of election. In terms of radio formats, the workshop provided some practical information on how to moderate political talk shows during an election process.
The training also underlined several issues related to actions to foster gender equality within media organizations such as sexual harassment in the newsroom, limited opportunities for growth in the industry and welfare issues including salaries, maternity leaves and working hours. Gender portrayal in media content was also discussed in detail.
This workshop was organized within the framework of the “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” project led by UNESCO and funded by the Swedish government UNESCO's project "Empowering Local Radios with ICTs" aims to bridge the gap between poor people - especially women and girls - and the public debate on issues of local public concern. This is achieved through a series of capacity-building activities in local radio stations, improving the programming quality, providing training on the use of ICTs and helping them to increase their geographical range of news coverage with a network of correspondents. The project, furthermore, focus on gender equality actions and financial sustainability of the radio stations.