3 SIGNIS Africa to Hold Workshop in Uganda, Aims at Improving Refugee News Coverage | The Christian Mail
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SIGNIS Africa to Hold Workshop in Uganda, Aims at Improving Refugee News Coverage

SIGNIS Africa, the continent’s Catholic media network, is set to host a workshop aimed at improving the quality of coverage of news about refugees. The workshop is scheduled to take place in Uganda from July 10th to July 16th, 2023.

The workshop is expected to bring together Catholic communication practitioners from across Africa to share ideas and insights on how to improve their reporting on news about refugees. The participants will include journalists, editors, producers, and other media professionals.

The workshop will focus on enhancing the skills of communication practitioners in reporting on refugees, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. Participants will be exposed to best practices and ethical considerations in reporting on refugee-related issues, as well as practical tools and techniques for covering such stories.

Some of the key topics that will be covered during the workshop include the challenges and opportunities of reporting on refugees, the ethical considerations involved in covering refugee stories, the role of media in shaping public perception of refugees, and the use of digital tools and social media in refugee reporting.

In preparation for the upcoming workshop, SIGNIS Africa team members met with the local Uganda organizing team in Kampala to collaborate and ensure that all the details were in order. Subsequently, Father Ihejirika held meetings with several prominent Ugandan church officials, including the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) President and Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese, Joseph Antony Zziwa, and Emeritus Bishop Giuseppe Franzelli, who chairs the UEC Commission of Social Communications. The meetings provided an opportunity to brief these officials on the workshop and discuss how the Church in Uganda could further support the coverage of news about refugees.

“The workshop will afford participants the opportunity to listen to the voices of the local Church, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the experiences of the Ugandan people with refugees. An outing to a refugee settlement is being considered. Media experts, state, UNHCR, and civil society will help navigate Catholic media to reclaim their voice on refugees and migrants -a voice sometimes drowned out by Western media’s highly selective and sometimes misleading notions of migration and refugees. By the end of the workshop, we hope to emerge with SIGNIS Africa Media guidelines that Catholic media practitioners can use in efficient and effective reporting on refugees. We hope for factual but more humane reporting of people already traumatised by their homeland experiences,” said Fr Ihejirika.

According to SIGNIS Africa, the workshop is timely and relevant, given the increasing number of refugees in Africa and the need for accurate, fair, and balanced reporting on their situation. Uganda, in particular, is hosting one of the largest refugee populations in Africa, with over 1.5 million refugees from neighboring countries, including South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for Catholic communication practitioners to network and build partnerships that can enhance their coverage of refugee stories. It will also showcase the important role that Catholic media can play in promoting understanding, compassion, and solidarity towards refugees.

The workshop will be led by a team of experienced communication professionals, who will use a combination of lectures, case studies, group discussions, and hands-on exercises to engage participants. The team will also draw on the expertise of local and international experts in refugee-related issues to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

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