SLAJ ends training for 100 journalists

13 July 2011 at 23:53 | 2073 views

The Sierra Leone Association of journalists has ended four 2-day training programmes for 100 journalists throughout the country with funds totalling Le 65 million provided by the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF.

The trainings were held in Pujehun for journalists in the south, Kono for those in the east, Kabala for the north and in Freetown which included journalists from Waterloo and Tombo.

With 25 participants drawn from each of the three provinces and in the Western Area, they were trained to report more accurately, ethically and probingly on issues bordering on children as well as on emergency situations such as fire accidents or conflict.

The Child Rights Act 2007 and sections of the Independent Media Commission’s code of practice dealing with children were explained to the journalists. News writing, investigative journalism and child labour also formed part of the training.

SLAJ President Umaru Fofana told journalists wherever the training took place to watch over their communities to protect children without whom, he said, there was no future for the country. He said children were vulnerable to abuse by adults and that their protection must therefore be the business of all especially the media. “We must expose violations and abuses of children whenever and wherever they happen so as to draw attention to their plight with a view to righting the wrong” he said.

During the training and follow-on practical field work, it was apparent that child rights violations were rampant across the country. During their investigations as part of the training, participants in the southern province identified found out that child pregnancy was happening with impunity with child protection workers saying teachers were responsible for three-quarters of such abuses with hardly any one ever prosecuted.

Child labour was noticeably rampant in the east while different forms of sexual violations of girls and child labour were evident in the north. In Freetown, the issues of street children, child prostitution and child labour were common features.


Ismael Koroma

National Secretary Genera;