Training for Journalists Begins in Guinea

Country: Guinea
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This morning, 15 Guinean journalists embarked upon a 10-day training program on understanding and reporting on the oil and mining industries. Guinea boasts over half of the world's known bauxite reserves and has additional oil, gold, iron and diamond deposits. Yet the country ranked 178th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Program 2011 Human Development Index. Transforming natural resource wealth so it benefits citizens is one of the biggest challenges the country faces. Active and informed reporting by the media is one step toward achieving this goal.

Chosen for their interest in the management of the extractive industries in Guinea and their journalistic ambition, the 15 journalists (three women and 12 men) come from print and online outlets as well as radio and TV. The training program was publicized nationally through the local media and was the object of two radio roundtable debates and a TV debate. We received 44 applications: 12 women and 32 men, from different media groups in Guinea.

Over the next 10 days, these journalists will deepen their knowledge of the sector and fine-tune their reporting skills. They'll first spend four days in the classroom, followed by a three-day field trip before returning to the classroom for three days. With a mixture of theory and practice, the journalists will meet speakers from civil society, government and industry, allowing them to build their understanding of how the sector works and who the key players are. A field trip to the bauxite-rich region of Boke will give them an opportunity to witness mineral extraction and interact with local communities while putting their skills into practice as they work on individual media reports.

The training program continues until the end of February 2013 through mentoring, further field visits and the development of a guide on the sector for the journalists.

The training is developed and conducted by a partnership of RWI, the Institut Superieur de l'Information et de la Communication and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It is part of a larger project initiated by Open Society Institute of West Africa and RWI seeking to provide journalists, parliamentarians and civil society organizations with the knowledge and tools that will allow them to contribute to the transparent and responsible management of oil and mining industries in Guinea.

Emma Tarrant Tayou is RWI Africa Regional Associate.

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