LIBERIA: Red Cross, Press Union of Liberia hold media training in humanitarian reporting

Participants and facilitators at the opening of the media training on humanitarian reporting in Sanniquellie. CC BY-NC-ND / Oniel Bestman / Liberian Red Cross Society

A three day humanitarian reporting and first aid training for 14 community radio journalists has ended in Saniquellie, Nimba County. Held under the theme: “Making our stories count; integrating humanitarian reporting in radio broadcasting,” the training provides journalists the basic knowledge of humanitarian reporting, motivates them to cover humanitarian stories and helps them improve their skills in coverage of humanitarian issues and interview techniques.

The Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) jointly organized the media training.

Speaking at the opening of the training, the Red Cross Nimba County Field Officer, Mary-Ann Swope underscores the critical role of the media in alerting the community when the unthinkable happens. “With the growing complexities of humanitarian needs, the Red Cross seeks to work with the media to better coordinate and ensure greater commitments in addressing humanitarian needs through actionable steps in the local communities,” she says. “We must all stand up and strongly commit ourselves in addressing these needs together.”

The PUL President, Charles Coffey lauded the LNRCS and the ICRC for the partnership aimed at building the capacity of local journalists to report on issues affecting humanity. Mr. Coffey encouraged the journalists to take interest in humanitarian issues and develop news stories and programs that will highlight humanitarian needs for possible and timely redress. “Maintain your ethical standards, do your best and go out to promote humanitarian issues,” says Mr. Coffey.

The head of the ICRC office in Liberia, Charles Garmodeh Kpan, Sr. said the ICRC offers opportunities for journalists to participate in local and international media training to develop the needed skills to report on humanitarian issues and consequences affecting the victims. He said the ICRC also facilitates journalists’ access to the field to highlight the plight of the victims for intervention by humanitarian institutions and/or the authorities.

“Though the ICRC has scaled down in staff and activities in Liberia, we remain in the country to support the Liberian Red Cross and assists the Liberian authorities and the Armed Forces of Liberia in the promotion, implementation and integration of the International Humanitarian law,” says the head of the ICRC in Liberia.

He hails the partnership with the PUL and looks up to more collaborations as the ICRC works with the Liberian authorities in the domestication of the Geneva Conventions, Kampala Convention, and the Arms Trade Treaty. The training also looks at radio packaging, emergency communication, and the role of the Red Cross, media law and ethics.

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