Rwanda has witnessed the highest daily COVID-19 cases than previous surges – with more than 800 new cases a day – which has started affecting vaccine confidence and fueling public panic, a situation that requires responsible and ethical reporting spirit, notably from journalists and media professionals.
In response to this, UNESCO through its International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) supported a virtual workshop for journalists on ethical and responsible coverage of the CCOVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda.
Sixty (60) journalists comprising of 35 men and 25 women drawn from across Rwanda, took part in a virtual training workshop supported by IPDC and which took places from 28 to 30 June 2021 and was facilitated by the Rwanda Media Commission, gathering participants comprised of reporters, editors, producers, and programmers drawn from TV, Radio, Newspapers and online media networks in Rwanda.
The journalists were taken through theoretical and practical exercises on history of the pandemic, professional and ethical coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic by the media, media coverage of the COVID-19 vaccines, hope for COVID-19 treatment as well as adverse events following immunization, among others. These training was designed around materials available from a number of UNESCO normative instruments such COVID-19 response, Media and Information Literacy and from the Knight Center for Journalism in the America’s massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Journalism in a pandemic: Covering COVID-19 now and in the future”, among others.
Mr. Emmanuel Mugisha, Executive Secretary, Rwanda Media Commission, stated that the programme came at a crucial time when disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic is rife in media platforms.