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Consolidating Peace Journalism through radio in Uganda

Thursday 5 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Kampala, Brussels, November 5th, 2015 (SIGNIS/UMDF) . Catholic radio stations such as Radio Pacis in Aura and Radio Wa in Lira are among the eleven radio stations which are involved in the project “Consolidating peace Journalism in Uganda”.

This project is a partnership between Uganda Media development Foundation and Bread for the World (inherited from Church Development Service’- EED), an association of Protestant churches in Germany based in Bonn). It was piloted in 2009-2010 and granted a 3 year extension which ran from 2011 - 2013 and has further been extended from 2014 - 2016. It promotes a conflict sensitive approach to news coverage and programming.

The approach was developed against the thinking that conventional media tend to play a negative role in terms of increasing tensions between and among the many sides of a conflict. The Project advocates that Media Practitioners take a more active role in finding solutions to conflict through their daily Journalistic work. It also promotes the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training Journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language without compromising the principles of good journalism.

Peace Journalism therefore encourages Journalists and media institutions to review themselves and their practices to produce information that addresses the full array of political, ethnic, social and cultural injustices. It is characterized by balanced reporting at an emotional distance, presenting a broad multifaceted view of a conflict and rejecting entertainment and partisan interests. The main objective of this project is to foster the development of media practitioners to promote peace in their regions, encourage citizens to participate in peace initiatives and create synergy between the media and their communities.

Though the project, UMDF is building skills among journalists to use conflict- sensitive approaches in programming and reporting, to give a voice to the victims of conflict instead of focusing on official sources and the people with authority. The project design includes regional trainings of media practitioners and church media people. It sensitizes radio managers and engages with opinion leaders to appreciate and promote peace journalism.

In each region, we run two model radio stations which get on-location mentoring visits. UMDF has successfully conducted Mentoring visits to the model radio stations, for practitioners who previously participated in the Peace Journalism training interventions conducted by UMDF. The participant media stations were visited with a view to establishing the extent to which Peace Journalism initiatives had been mainstreamed into the programming and management ethos at the respective stations. During the visits, UMDF reviews the progress in application of CSJ skills amongst the practitioners, through lectures, field work, script writing and editing. The project has supported production of conflict -sensitive programmes in eleven radio stations across the country.

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