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International Justice/ICC: Jun/Jul '10

Female journalists trained to become regular contributors to radio programme devoted to coverage of sexual violence, human rights and justice issues.
By IWPR

A group of female Congolese journalists last month took part in a week-long training session in Goma aimed at teaching them the skills they need to contribute to IWPR’s Face à la Justice radio programme, which is about to be relaunched

The week of training, June 21-26 - conducted by IWPR radio producer Melanie Gouby and journalist Louise Williams – focused on how to produce radio reports on sexual violence, human rights and justice issues.

“It was a great training, we learned so much from the IWPR team. I think what was best is that they made us feel like we were part of Face à la Justice and really a team working together,” said Passy Mubalama, one of the participants.

Another trainee, Godelieve Uwimana, said linking the training session with the production of content for the programme provided those taking part with a rare opportunity.

“As women we can have a better approach to reporting on sexual violence than our male colleagues. They don’t understand and often have prejudices. But it is difficult for us as women to get our voice heard in Congolese media,” she said.

The training session was followed by a week of practical mentoring by Gouby, which concentrated on the production of the first Face à la Justice show.

The mentoring put into practice what the participants had learned during the workshop and helped to develop a team spirit, Gouby said.

Fifteen female journalists from eight radio stations across North and South Kivu were selected to take part in the session. The participants will contribute feature stories for Face à la Justice, which is to be broadcast (in French and Swahili) by three IWPR radio station partners - RAO fm, RTNC and RACOU - in North Kivu.

The network of radio partners is rapidly expanding, with three other stations expressing interest in broadcasting Face à la Justice.

The training event equipped journalists with key journalistic skills for reporting on human rights and justice issues. They were shown how to conduct radio interviews, using digital recording equipment, and edit broadcast material with digital software.

The session also benefited from the experience of Immaculée Birhaheka, a leading Congolese human rights activist and president of the organisation Promotion and Support of Women's Initiatives, PAIF, who delivered a talk about reporting on sexual violence issues.

Birhaheka gave the journalists an insight into her work with victims of rape and discussed the dos and don’ts of interviewing victims.

“It was great to talk about those issues with other journalists and hear opinion and advice from journalists coming from different cultures. Mrs Birhaheka was very interesting and I feel that I now have the necessary skills to interview victims,” said Esperance Nzigire, one of the participants.

Birhaheka welcomed IWPR’s initiative because she said there is a lack of balanced reporting on sexual violence in eastern DRC.

She also applauded IWPR for training and employing female journalists, as most journalists in the region are men and many harbour prejudices about sexual violence and the status of women in general.

“All women are marginalised, even the educated ones. We must obtain equality of chances and opportunities,” she said.

Additionally, the training touched upon investigative journalism and new media in order to show the participants how they could explore new ways of reporting and broaden the impact of their work.

A Twitter account, JusticeKivu, was set up following the training event. It will give updates on the journalists’ work, justice issues in North and South Kivu and the ICC.

The first Face à la Justice programme will be aired in the coming weeks, covering land rights, street children and conditions for children in Goma’s jail. It will also feature updates on trials at the ICC and an exclusive interview with the chief prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo. 

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