Internews Trains Journalists in Reporting on PWDs

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Participants at the 3-days Internews workshop people living with disabilities

About 20 journalists from Montserrado, Bong, Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Nimba, and Grand Cape Mount Counties have ended a session of training in Reporting on People with Disabilities (PWD) to improve coverage of these people and promote the dignity that they deserve.

The 3-day training was held at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship Center on 9th Street,  from April 6-8, 2021. The training was aimed at strengthening journalists to effectively report on people living with disabilities, highlighting their careers and contributions in society rather than just reporting about being beggars.

The training, in partnership with AiFo, is a module of the Inclusive Media Project (IMP), designed to boost the quantity and quality of reporters covering PWDs to focus on producing articles that provide accurate and balanced portrayals of disability as a part of everyday life.

The goal of the program is to inform the public and policymakers about the rights of people with disabilities, promote greater accountability, and ignite conversations that change social norms and attitudes over time as well as change the narratives of how persons with disabilities are portrayed in the media.

Participants were both broadcast and print journalists who were enlisted early March by Internews through an online application form. Journalists are expected to report high-quality feature stories.

“This two-year project will help boost the quality of media coverage of persons with disabilities (PwD) in sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on producing news reports, articles, and stories that provide accurate and balanced portrayals of disability issues as a part of every day of life” Jefferson Massah asserted.

The training workshop also coincided with the official launch of the manual on disabilities. The manual focuses on discussing key disability issues including messages and principles for journalists wanting to support the human rights of Africans with disabilities. The training manual also deals with the terminologies associated.

Jefferson Togbah Massah, Country Lead or Internews, said at the end of 2020 Internews received a grant to support series of journalism training workshops that will focus on persons with disabilities and improve media coverage of disabilities in key target countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Liberia, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among countries benefiting from the grant.

According to Mr. Massah, Internews will offer story grants to participating journalists to enable them make follow-up reporting on issues that are impacting the lives of PWDs.

He openly told the gathering that the five-month project will expect 40 high-quality stories from the journalists in the end.

The president of the Press Union of Liberia, Charles Cuffy, who launched the manual, thanked Internews for helping to empower journalists through different training programs.

He called on journalists to change the paradigm positively through their reports on persons with disabilities.

Speaking on behind of the Reporters Association of Liberia, Miss Hannah Geterminah also appreciated Internews for their support towards the Liberian media.

Hannah encouraged the participants to engage in positive reporting about the disabled community through impactful stories.

Estella T. Turay of Lux Fm, owned by the University of Liberia, said the program was an eye-opener for her as a journalist because this is a whole different aspect of reporting.

“This is a whole new learning curve for me and it put me in a position to see people living with disability as part of our society and things they are bringing to the table”.

She thanked Internews for affording her the opportunity, adding that it was through the program she learned on how to report on PWDs that will help to expand her work as a journalist.

Onesimus S. Garway Sr., Liberian News Agency correspondent in Grand Bassa County said the activities about people living with disabilities should not just be on the humanitarian point but the impact they are making in their various communities.

He also thanked Internews and donors for providing the space to learned new ideas that will transform his reporting on PWDs.

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