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Innocent Bulambembe, coordinator of the partner radio stations of Fondation Hirondelle in the RDC, during the training in Kinshasa. ©Fondation Hirondelle Innocent Bulambembe, coordinator of the partner radio stations of Fondation Hirondelle in the RDC, during the training in Kinshasa.

Journalism in conflict situations: our training in Kinshasa

Nine correspondents of Fondation Hirondelle in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been trained on the practice of journalism in conflict zones, from 16 to 19 April 2018 in Kinshasa.

These journalists came from 7 provinces of the DRC. The training focused on several modules such as: Fondation Hirondelle's code of ethics, the safety of journalists in conflict zones, radio writing, reporting, interview techniques, journalistic formats and sound quality of radio productions. This training was part of the MCVP (citizen media for public life) program, called "Ngoma Ya kongo", implemented by Fondation Hirondelle with the financial support of Sweden.

The training was provided by Suzanne Nzobo, editorial director of Fondation Hirondelle in the DRC and Innocent Bulambembe, coordinator of the partner radio stations. Valérie Rohart, a training journalist on mission for Fondation Hirondelle in the DRC also shared her experience with the participants.

Journalists have received useful tools for the exercise of their profession in times of crisis. The trainers reminded that "the best security of the journalist is to do his job properly, that is to say, respecting the principles of neutrality, impartiality, balance and honesty. " They emphasized the ethical and professional values of Fondation Hirondelle. They reminded the ban of the current practice in the DRC to disseminate information in return for payment of the journalist by the source of information, a practice called "coupage" in the jargon of the profession locally.

Participants were also informed about equipment and / or other items to take away or not with you in the field, how to dress and what behavior to adopt when covering events at risk. The trainers reminded them that it is essential to constantly evaluate the situation, according to its evolution in order to make the right decisions.

At the end of this training, the journalists told they have benefited from notions that can help them to improve their work, sometimes on very basic and concrete aspects:

Jean Felix Bolia, from Radio Ingende Imala in Equateur province, had never touched a computer keyboard before taking this training. During the practical exercises one of the trainers taught him to enter a text on the computer.

Trésor Kpalawele from "Muana" Radio and Phirra Akambu from "Radio Liberty", from the North and South Ubangi provinces, routinely gave the questionnaire to their guests in advance and therefore were not masters of their interviews. A practice they decided to give up after taking the lesson on interviewing techniques.

Irene Mboma from "Bandundu FM" broadcasting in Kwilu province had no concept of editing sounds. His reports were always edited by a technician. From now on, she can do alone a pre-editing of the sounds that she brings back ground.