SEMC Training: Journalists Speak their Humanitarian Conscience

“The workshop opened up new vistas of writing with a humanitarian conscience,” Hamza Al-Sami’e, commented at the end of the workshop on conflict-sensitive journalism carried out in Taiz by SEMC in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

During the three-day workshop, Al-Sami’e and 20 other journalists were trained on coverage skills in conflict zones and overcoming barriers to effective coverage. The workshop is part of a larger project to train Yemeni journalists on conflict-sensitive journalism.

“Conflict-sensitive journalism is a significant addition to journalist training. It enhances their abilities and provides them with conflict-sensitive journalism skills,” said Hamdi Rassam, program officer at SEMC.

Rassam adds, “The Center has worked over the past years to train about 350 journalists from most Yemeni governorates, to enable them to prepare conflict-sensitive reports that help rationalize media discourse and contribute to peace-building.”

“Dozens of journalists did produce news stories that are consistent with the requirements of conflict-sensitive journalism, and many journalists focused on producing humanitarian stories that reflect the catastrophic impact of the war in Yemen,” Rassam further affirms.

On his part, program director at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Mahmoud Qayyah, states: “By conducting conflict-sensitive journalism training, we seek to rectify media discourse, train journalists on the importance of adhering to objective and accurate news coverage, and to foster the values of coexistence and peace, and relevance in the media.”

He added: “Focusing on humanitarian stories will ultimately result in putting an end to suffering. This is the goal we seek to accomplish through the training courses that we implement in cooperation with SEMC.”

For his part, trainer Abdussalam Al-Shuraihi said that the trainees received many exercises and practical and theoretical activities, and acquired new skills of preparing conflict-sensitive reports.

Participants described the workshop as useful, as it provided them with the opportunity to acquired new skills.

“I learned a lot. During the three days of training, I learned many skills that I did not learn during my three years of study at the Media Department. It was a useful training workshop,” said Amani Amin, senior media student at Taiz University.

“During the workshop, I learned about the concept of conflict-sensitive journalism and its importance during the conflict. I also realized its importance and focus on the humanitarian aspect by shedding light on suffering of citizens,” Hamza Al-Sami’e said.

Yemen TV correspondent in Taiz, Abeer Abdullah, says, “The conflict-sensitive journalism workshop is one of the most important workshops I attended. I learned lots of things. It’s important especially at this critical stage. During the course, we learned many concepts and issues of conflict-sensitive journalism, ways of dealing with rumors, and our role as journalists in accurate coverage and focus on humanitarian issues.”

Ayat Khalid, an Almushahi net journalist, said: “The workshop represents a fundamental point in our journalistic work. The most important point is that we shall avoid taking partisan positions in our coverage of the conflict, and that we shall rationalize our media discourse to contribute to peace. Perhaps we have neglected these issues in our work so far. Yet, they are very important and can contribute significantly to the manner we handle issues.”

She adds, “I feel that today I can reach both sides of the conflict and present their views evenhandedly. I intend to implement the things I learned in my future work, God willing. I will seek to serve humanitarian needs in my articles more than I did in the past, away from any political prejudices or preconceptions.”