27 April 2011 – Aiming to improve journalists' skills as Southern Sudan prepares to become a new nation, Radio Miraya began a three-day training session today for reporters in the Upper Nile State capital of Malakal.
Conducted at the state's ministry of information and communication conference hall, the workshop was opened by the ministry's director general, Bartholomew Pakwan Abul.
"I urge you to take this training seriously so that you will be at the forefront to provide accurate information. Accurate information is the basis of our work," the director general said.
Mr. Abul stressed that journalists should ensure their reporting was accurate, fair and balanced.
"We are professionals and not politicians," the director general said. "We need to treat opponents equally. The ministry is struggling very hard to provide you with the suitable training so that you become professional journalists."
Radio Miraya Head of Training Douglas Cosper was conducting the workshop, following a request by State Minister of Information and Communication Peter Lam Both.
"The training is organized primarily for Miraya staff," Mr. Cosper said. "However, the Fondation Hirondelle also arranged to extend the benefits to the government media houses as well."
He added that the training would help reporters obtain first-hand information, so that they would at least be aware of practical journalistic tools.
Fondation Hirondelle is a Swiss non-governmental organization that runs Radio Miraya in partnership with UNMIS.
Key topics of the training are journalists in a democratic society, interviewing skills and writing hard news. Methods of instruction include role-play and practical exercises.
Eighteen journalists drawn from various local broadcast and print media houses will benefit from the training.
"I expect that I would gain some real information on how to report (and) conduct interviews," said radio journalist John Amum Kak, of Saut El Mohaba FM, a Catholic run station in Malakal.
"We are becoming a new state and I as one of the journalists would expect to have the necessary journalistic tools to do my job better," he added. "I hope to get to know script writing, feature and report writing for radio so that I am able to help listeners get informed."
The training will conclude on 29 April. Similar training sessions will be held in Wau and Juba in May.