Go investigate and analyse, journalists challenged

Malawian journalists have been challenged to fully investigate and apply analytical mind on issues to do with gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS other than just reporting.

The call was made in Mangochi at the end of a three-day orientation of training manual on gender mainstreaming, human rights based approach to HIV and AIDS and advocacy for journalists organised by the Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC).

MHRRC in partnership with the National Aids Commission (NAC), has embarked on a project titled “Capacity Building for Service Providers on HIV AIDS in Rights Based Approach and Gender at National and Regional Level”.

Kaliya and Mulomole closing the training. Photo:Nyasa Times

“We really respect the role journalists play in dissemination information on issues to do with gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS but sometimes it really hurts to read or hear a report that leaves us with more questions than answers.

“It is our hope that after successfully undergoing this training workshop you will make a big difference in our society in as far as disseminating information on issues to do with gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS is concerned,” said Emma Kaliya, Programme Manager for MHRRC.

She said gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS issues affect people in their everyday life and it was important that media practitioners have proper analysis when reporting on them.

“Analysis helps to equip journalists with ways to quickly spot a story has glaring gaps in terms of who is not speaking, whose views are not appearing or heard and which perspectives have been overlooked,” observed the outspoken Kaliya who is also chairperson of the country’s Gender Coordinating Network (GCN).

The programme manager said MHRRC with its stakeholders in the project had a comprehensive consultative process regarding the development of the training manual.

“However, the manual can only be used effectively if all those that will be charged with such a responsibility are very aware of the contents so that they diligently deliver to their beneficiaries.

In his speech, National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA) Information and Research Officer Augustine Mulomole said the aim of the orientation workshop was to train targeted members of NAMISA and Journalists Association Against AIDS (JournAIDS) on the use of the training manual that will be used to train all the targeted beneficiaries of the project.

“As media, we play a vital role in raising awareness and educating the masses on various issues including gender, human rights and HIV and AIDS. And I am quite sure that your participation in this training has adequately imparted skills and knowledge so that you report better. My plea to you is please do not allow these manuals to gather dusts in your newsroom,” said Mulomole.

MHRRC is a capacity building organization with the mandate of promoting a sustainable human rights culture in Malawi by working with civil society organizations and other institutions.

In this project, the overall goal is to empower the target group with gender and human rights knowledge which will result in behavioral change and community action against human rights violations including gender based violence and empowerment of vulnerable and high risk groups thereby reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS.

The project also seeks to address three specific objectives which are to build capacity in gender, HIV and AIDS, advocacy for social justice and monitoring and evaluation.

About 30 media practitioners from Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Mangochi and Balaka attended the training.

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