As part of an election coverage training program, the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Swaziland (MISA-Swaziland), in partnership with human rights organisation COSPE, took five journalists into the field to ask women about the upcoming national vote, as well as many other topics…
On Tuesday 21 May, MISA-Swaziland and COSPE staff, aided by Maureen Littlejohn from the Swaziland action group against abuse (Swagaa), welcomed five journalists to the MISA office in Mbabane, the capital, for a morning discussion and training session on how to improve their election coverage.
This was the second ‘on-the-job workshop’ — a mixture of theoretical training and practical work — in a series of 12 sessions in the lead up to the national elections, scheduled for August 2013.
After the morning session at the MISA office, the journalists split into two groups and went off to find stories, putting into practice the principles (from the SADC election guidelines and Swagaa’s suggestions on ethical gender reporting) that had just been discussed.
The focus of these practical ‘on-the-job’ trainings, in addition to improving election coverage, is assisting journalists so they can report on women’s issues in a more ethical manner. Beyond the fact that 80 percent of sources in the Swazi media are male voices, stories about women are often reported in an insensitive way.
In Mafutseni, a town in the central Manzini region, the Swazi Observer’s Winile Masgina asked residents a range of questions about women’s rights and the upcoming elections.
The next training day will be held on Tuesday May 28.
The aim for the whole project, over the 12 sessions, is to expose about 30 journalists to this type of training. Print journalists from the two daily newspapers, Times of Swaziland and Swazi Observer, and also the monthly magazine The Nation, will receive the first round of training. If all goes to plan, there are thoughts to also involve editors, students, and radio and TV reporters.