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UNESCO committed to enhance journalism training in Africa

18-03-2008 (Paris)
UNESCO committed to enhance journalism training in Africa
Abdul Waheed Khan
© UNESCO
Opening the Meeting on Journalism Training in Africa presently taking place in Grahamstown, South Africa, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Abdul Waheed Khan, stressed UNESCO's commitment to build professional capacity of African journalists.
"Current issues and trends are redefining journalism practices. The emergence of multimedia platforms and new forms of journalism such as blogs are opening entirely new avenues for broadcasting and reaching a great variety of audiences worldwide," observed Mr Khan. In addition to these developments, the quality of journalistic work is increasingly under threat as it moves from a journalism of verification to a journalism of assertion. In this context, "journalism education should not only teach students how to write, but teach them to think, to verify, to acclaim, to criticise and, only then, to synthesise," he added.

It was to this end that UNESCO developed model curricula for journalism education to be applied in developing countries and emerging democracies. Highlighting the close connection between democracy and journalism, the model curricula aim at enhancing the ability of students to think critically, incorporating skills in comprehension, analysis and synthesis. They foster a more widespread approach to journalism education in order to enable students to report on increasingly complex issues.

Speaking to the more than 70 participants of the Grahamstown conference, Mr Khan stressed the innovative character of a recently-published UNESCO study entitled Criteria and Indicators for Quality Journalism Training Institutions: Identifying Potential Centres of Excellence in Journalism Training in Africa. "The selected criteria and indicators it offers give scope for extending the study further, to adapt them for use in other parts of the world," said Mr Khan.

Mr Khan reiterated UNESCO's commitment to build a better, more informed Africa. As a contribution to this goal, UNESCO will help realise the full potential of leading African journalism training institutions. "Our meeting today marks the beginning of what promises to be a pioneering development effort in journalism training in Africa," he declared.

Media educators striving for excellence gathered yesterday and today in Grahamstown for a two day consultation meeting under the auspices of UNESCO. They discuss the challenges of journalism education in Africa and the ways to build institutional capacities to meet those challenges. Participants mainly represent journalism education institutions from developing countries, the African Editors Forum and its partner organizations, as well as donor organizations.
Related themes/countries

      · Africa
      · Abdul Waheed Khan
      · Training of Media Professionals: News Archives 2008
      · South Africa: News Archives 2008
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