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UNESCO safety trainings for Mindanawon journalists end successfully

Participants from Davao and Caraga Regions during the training session on Covering Peace and Conflict in Mindanao. (MindaNews Photo)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 September) – Several Mindanawon journalists lauded the recently concluded series of safety trainings made possible with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – Jakarta.

Alger Dura, of DXGO Aksyon Radyo in Davao City, said the trainings were useful, especially on instilling a safety mindset for the working press.

“This is really a big help especially that we are facing a health pandemic. We need to be safe while we continue with our job of informing the public,” he said, referring to the Safety Training in Covering the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Dr. Thaddeus Milay Averilla, Infection Control Committee head of Madonna Medical Center, Inc., handled such training, the first of four series, where he gave several tips to journalists on how to avoid contracting the disease while covering the pandemic.

Walter Balane, of BukidnonNews.Net, said Averilla’s training was timely amid the “infodemic” that is spreading in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The training on the COVID-19 pandemic was appropriate because some journalists pretend that they know (everything) when in fact they are ignorant,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, infodemic is too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak.

Jidday Pangadapun Buat Lucman, head of the communications team of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Social Services and Development, said the safety training on “Covering Peace and Conflict in Mindanao” is relevant to her work.

“That was a very fruitful discussion,” she said.

Carolyn O. Arguillas, editor-in–chief of MindaNews conducted the safety training on “Covering Peace and Conflict in Mindanao.” She discussed the history and context of the Bangsamoro peace process, among others.


Journalists from Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao participate in the “Safety Training on Covering Disasters.” (MindaNews photo)

There were two other trainings in the course of four months.

Red Batario, executive director of the Center for Community Journalism and Development, handled the training on “Safety in Covering Disasters.” Batario is also Southeast Asia coordinator for the International News Safety Institute.

Julie Alipala, the Zamboanga City-based reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was the resource person for the training on “Digital Safety of Journalists.”

The trainings were part of a series on “Strengthening Safety of Journalists and Professional Journalistic Standards in the Philippines,” a project of UNESCO – Jakarta supported by the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust

All the trainings were done online through the Zoom platform due to the travel restrictions imposed by different local government units to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

At least 100 journalists from the private and government media, as well as journalism students, joined the series of trainings that started in May and culminated this month.

Nena Mirafuentes Garcia, a radio anchor at DXKD Ronda Balita in Dipolog City, said she gained more knowledge on how to keep safe while on coverage.

“Thank you so much for the informative journalism safety trainings from our speakers,” she said.

The trainings were organized by MindaNews, which was founded in 2001 by independent, professional journalists in Mindanao and has been reporting on the island’s many faces and facets in the past 20 years.

Amalia Cabusao,  training director of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism which runs MindaNews, thanked UNESCO – Jakarta and the government of The Netherlands for their support and the participants for joining the trainings.

“We completed the trainings despite the challenges brought by the pandemic and we are looking to hold more trainings in the future as a way of helping journalists enhance their skills,” she said. (MindaNews)

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