Senegal: Journalists to be trained in combating arms proliferation in Africa

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The African Media Initiative (AMI) and the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) have signed an agreement towards combating arms proliferation and promoting peace in Africa.

In a statement, obtained here by PANA, AMI said Monday that it had sealed a deal with RECSA to address the problem of small arms and light weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States.

The two organizations will collaborate in training and encouraging journalists to cover the issue of weapons proliferation on the continent, and to promote peace within the RECSA region and beyond.

Speaking during the signing ceremony of the agreement, AMI’s CEO Eric Chinje said that the two organizations would be launching a series of programmes aimed at focusing media attention on the issue of weapons proliferation.

“AMI is committed to building the media’s capacity to report on critical matters on the continent. Security and stability are crucial to development, and through this project, we intend to cultivate a network of well informed journalists who can adequately cover the issue of small arms and weapons proliferation,” he said.

As conflicts in Africa continue to impede social and economic development on the continent, the two organizations will be working together to strengthen the media’s capacity to report on issues of small arms and light weapons proliferation, with the hope of raising awareness and providing lasting solutions to the problem.

The partnership is said to be in line with AMI’s strategy, which aims to narrow the gap between media content and Africa’s development agenda.

According to the statement, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, RECSA’s Executive Secretary, also stressed that peace building and reconciliation were the building blocks towards eradicating conflict on the continent and he urged the media to spread the message of peace.

He pointed out that small arms, which total about 100 million, ''are the real weapons of mass destruction in Africa''.

“The media has great influence on peace processes in Africa, as the main conduit of public information on peace. We must harness this influence for a better Africa,” Mutsindashyaka added.

Meanwhile, AMI and RECSA have partnered for a period of five years and will co-operate and collaborate in RECSA member states in the areas of peace building, conflict resolution, advocacy and public awareness and media capacity building.

AMI is an umbrella organization that brings media owners together and seeks to find solutions to perennial problems facing the industry such as the lack of financing and solid business models, as well as difficulties in accessing the advertising market.

The organisation also aims to spur better journalism through various training programmes, including in data and development journalism.

Similarly, RECSA is an intergovernmental organisation established in June 2005. It coordinates the implementation of the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States in 15 Member States.

RECSA’s vision is a safe and secure sub-region in a peaceful continent free from arms proliferation.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 24Feb2015

24 february 2015 15:19:00

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