Home | News    Wednesday 25 August 2010

Southern Sudanese journalists trained in radio peace building

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By Richard Ruati

August 23, 2010 (KAMPALA) – Radio presenters, journalists and civil society members from southern Sudan received training this week from a UK-based non-governmental organization on conflict transformation, mediation and forgiveness during crisis situations.

The objective of the training led by Conciliation Resource was to build the capacity of journalists working in local radio stations to be able to do their work and broadcast welcoming messages to Lords Resistance Army (LRA) fighters who have been accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

The group have abducted and killed civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Southern Sudan and Uganda since they began fighting the Ugandan government in 1986.

The decision to conduct the training in Uganda was based on the success story in Gulu, Northern Uganda, where radio played vital role to encourage LRA fighters to hand themselves in under an amnesty program.

The training offered an opportunity to radio journalists and civil society representatives from DRC, Southern Sudan and CAR, to visit radio stations with experience in peace programming in Uganda and pick up lessons to inform their own broadcasting.

Conciliation Resource hope the training will contribute to the development of successful models for civil society and radio journalists in the LRA affected areas and bridge channels of communication with communities and individuals in the LRA.

East and Central Africa Program Director, Kennedy Tumutegyereize said in a lecture to the seminar that the role of radio was very important in conflict resolution.

Tumutegyereize said, “media personnel should be neutral, non-judgmental, and transparent and assists the abducted LRA fighters to create an exit route to their communities.”

"It is [our] responsibility to build the capacity of civil society organizations and media personnel working in the field of conflict resolution to enable them do their work effectively and efficiently. The training serves as an opportunity for [us] to encourage LRA fighters to come out," he said.

Participants were taught how to make program that encouraged peace, forgiveness and lasting solutions as well as advice as to how to encourage and react to LRA fighters – many of whom are abducted children – to surrender and stop fighting.

(ST)

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