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First round of health journalism training successfully coming to an end

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Participant journalists from Libya during the first round of training held in TunisiaParticipant journalists from Libya during the first round of training held in TunisiaCairo, 22 May 2014 – The first round of a joint WHO/Agence France-Presse/Thomson Reuters Foundation training programme on mainstreaming health in the media is successfully coming to an end.  

For 15 weeks, 18 Libyan journalists, representing different media outlets, have been undergoing training. This has included two weeks class-based training in Tunisia from 19 January to 1 February 2014, followed by three months of online mentorship.

The training programme aims to enhance media involvement in health promotion to mainstream health in media work in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region and to enhance the effectiveness of the role of the media in health literacy through building the capacities of a pool of journalists to meet international standards of journalism.

Professionalism, neutrality, and conducting honest and balanced investigation, are among the important lessons the training programme focuses on. Evaluation of each participating journalist assesses these values along with their technical and journalistic skills.

The programme also provides knowledge of priority health issues in the Region provided by WHO and regional experts.

The graduation ceremony is due to take place in June 2014. During the ceremony, the graduates will receive their diplomas reflecting the progress they have made in the programme. 

However, this is not all: the training has yielded other positive results. Two of the participating journalists were nominated by Mr Saad Hattar, the Thomson Reuters Foundation trainer, to attend an advanced investigative reporting workshop in Amman, Jordan. Mr Badri Al Ozi, a reporter with the Libya News Agency, and Mr Moataz Al Trabulsi, a Libyan journalist, attended the workshop that was held in Amman on March 30–31, 2014.

The commitment and quality of work they exhibited during the training programme were acknowledged by Mr Hattar:

“Badri Al Ozi showed interest in acquiring new skills throughout the workshop. He maintained his notable keenness during the subsequent three-month field reporting. I nominated Badri Al Ozi to attend the advanced investigative reporting workshop in Amman. During that course, Al Ozi continued to show a deep interest in gaining new tools and polishing up his skills. He is now committed to producing a cross-border investigation, in cooperation with a Tunisian female journalist, about the smuggling of fuel derivatives from Libya to Tunis. He has passed and is recommended for advanced training.” 

Mr. Hattar made a similar viewpoint regarding Al Trabulsi.  

“For Moataz Al Trabulsi, I noticed the high potential of this young journalist. That is why I nominated him to attend the advanced course on investigative journalism. I believe that Al Trabulsi has the potential to improve his skills, if given the chance with the right mentor. He is also recommended for more training in writing skills and advanced training.”

How do the two journalists view the whole experience and how it will affect their work?

“I am honored that I participated in the training programme for mainstreaming health in the media. I feel lucky for having the opportunity to be trained and to learn from professional trainers. I learnt new journalistic skills and developed my technical abilities. I also realized the importance of respecting differences and having free media. Through this workshop I have greater hopes that we can reach quality and advanced health journalism in Libya. Many thanks for WHO for making it possible.” 

Moataz Al Trabulsi

“This training programme gave me a lot. From two weeks of continuous work in building knowledge and practice in journalism, I learnt a lot from the trainers and through the exchange of advice and sharing of experiences with colleagues. As a journalist with the Libya News Agency, I am proud to have been chosen by Mr Saad Hattar, the in collaboration with the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) network, to participate in the advanced training on investigative journalism. It was my first introduction to this type of journalism, which was totally forbidden in Libya before the revolution. There are values that I learnt and to which I will be loyal. Many Thanks to all my trainers and colleagues, and to WHO”. 

Badri Al-Ozi