The Non Governmental Organization, Global Rescue Mission Sierra Leone (GRM-SL) has ended a three-day workshop on critical newspaper literacy and the media for sixty participants from Kandu Leppiama, Simbaru, Dama, Small Bo and Nongowa chiefdoms in the Kenema district.
Feed the Minds, a UK-based NGO, funded the workshop, which took place in Blama town in the Small Bo chiefdom.
In his presentation on the topic of newspapers and the media, the Regional Secretary General of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) east, Victor Sahr Fayombo, who also served as one of the facilitators at the workshop, defined a newspaper as a printed daily or weekly publication containing news, reports and opinions.
He said a newspaper plays a vital role in reporting events and advertisements, adding that it is essential for exposing the ills of society and keeping people informed about recent events.
“Newspapers,” he said, “serve as a check for the government, as a tool for education, and as a voice for the people in the country.”
He told participants that the media was the means through which information was disseminated to the people through the use of radio, television, newspapers, internet and satellite facilities. He said the media also acts as a reflection of cultural interests and trends.
Comparing the advantage in the use of the various forms of media, Mr. Fayombo said the print media was necessary because published information can be documented or kept for years or centuries for reference purposes. He said the electronic media was also very essential in that it quickly disseminates information to a large group of people and has the capacity to reach the literate, illiterate, rich or poor at the same time.
Other relevant topics discussed at the workshop included the negative and positive aspects of journalism and the need for press freedom.
Speaking at the opening ceremony the Project Coordinator of GRM-SL, Sydney Rae Deal said the workshop was to equip journalists to get and consume the daily events of both the national and international communities.
During the closing courtesy, Regional Coordinator GRM-SL Sahr Kamanda encouraged participants especially the female ones to be active political beings.
He said the women should take the challenge of positively participating in politics and encouraged the community people to exercise their rights and to observe and monitor the activities of the local councils; ask to pay fees, taxes, and rates for services delivered; participate in community development projects and to comply with the Local Government Act.
He said when the public was well informed and aware of their rights, the community would develop. He urged state actors to involve youth and women in the developmental programmes of their communities.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema