3 June 2023 – Bishoftu, Ethiopia: IGAD’s Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), undertook a 2-days national training for Ethiopia’s media professionals on reporting security matters that include the challenges and implications of addressing transnational security threat on 1-2 June 2023.
The training aimed to improve journalists' ability to report on conflict and security issues for different audiences, enhance their knowledge and comprehension of the core causes of conflicts, the dynamics of peace building, and the transnational security threats prevalent in the country and the IGAD region. The training further tried to outline a strategy for strengthening journalists’ abilities and competence in reporting on conflict and security issues.
The security dynamics around the globe have become increasingly complex and multidimensional necessitating multi-sectorial efforts in guaranteeing safety and security. Government security agencies and other state institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the media are increasingly having a role to play on matters pertaining to security. Media exposure of security related matters is widely affective in contributing to the mitigation of security threats. The media has a significant impact on shaping public opinion and influencing policy decisions. The role media plays, the influence, and the impact it makes varies across jurisdictions and levels from local to international reaching a wide range of audiences with different backgrounds, culture, language, and laws.
The region is vulnerable to the threats and other conflicts at national and regional levels. Ethiopia, as one of the Member States, faces these security threats. The role of state and non-state actors including their cooperation in tackling and addressing these threats is crucial. The media, is one of the non-state actors playing a role in the Government’s efforts of putting in place preventive and countering mechanisms for mitigating the security threats. These measures range from implementation of legal instruments, sensitization and awareness creation, mutual legal assistance, community engagement, and so on. Hence, the media contributes and influences the different mechanisms through the available public or private media outlets. In this respect, journalists must have the technical capability, the intellectual capacity, knowledge, and vast understanding of the vulnerability of the security threats, the challenges posed, the stakeholders involved, the rules of engagement, and the overall laws governing the country and beyond.
The training was officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD SSP and the IGAD Head of Mission to Ethiopia on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, and H.E. Amb. Jemaludin Mohamed Omar, Deputy Director of African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the FDRE. In their opening remarks, Commander Abebe and Amb. Jemaludin both emphasized on the timely and importance of the training in bringing together the media professionals to enhance the ethical and professional journalism that contributes to the peace and security of the country in particular and the region in general.
About 30 (thirty) senior media professionals that include journalists, editors, and producers of the public and private media outlets in Ethiopia attended the training. Seasoned Experts from academic and practical background shared their experience and knowledge through presentations, case studies, and interactive discussions through the following thematic areas:
- Nature and dynamics of conflict and security issues in the IGAD region
- Post conflict peace building in Ethiopia
- The role of the media in promoting peace and stability in conflict-affected areas
- Ethical and responsible reporting on conflict and security issues: legal frameworks, access to information, mis/disinformation, etc.
- Diplomatic and professional reporting – specialization, digital diplomacy, etc
- Challenges, opportunities & recommendations for cooperation between and among the state agencies and the media for reporting
The training was concluded in a closing session presided by Commander Abebe and H.E. Amb. Meles Alem, the Spokesperson of the FDRE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which they both thanked the participants for their active participation, and underlined the need to put what they have learnt into practice so that the media can play a positive role in the addressing the security threats in Ethiopia and in the IGAD Region at large.
The training was funded by the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the IPPSHAR Programme being implemented in partnership with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). (END)