Director of PeaceMedia and PeaceTech Lab Africa, Theo Dolan, on training Ethiopian Journalists

This transcript is from an interview conducted by Kibrom Worku of AfroFM News in Addis Ababa.

The role of the media in maintaining good governance and accountability is immense.

This was disclosed at a recent training for media personnel based in Addis Ababa. The US Embassy here in Addis Ababa organized the training. The government, the public, civil society, academia and the media are key stakeholders in ensuring good governance and accountability. And the media interconnects all these stakeholders creating the very strong nexus. Afro FM had an exclusive interview with, Director of Peace media and PeaceTech lab Africa, Theo Dolan. Mr. Dolan talked about the very purpose of the training.

“The purpose was to inform journalists here in Addis-- and I was also in Bahir Dar-- to help them understand how the media can support good governance and accountability. I was just trying to present a broad frame work with some examples, taken from different countries to show media’s role and really the impression I got was that there is a lot of room for media coverage of social accountability. How media can create a space for diverse voices and raise issues of good governance at the community level so, to help encourage governments to do more and support those kinds of initiative. ”

Theo also spoke about his experience on the area and what he brought to Ethiopian journalists.

“I have worked for the last 15 years with many media professional around the world and to support independent media and support capacity building for journalists, producers and media managers. And specifically in Africa at peace tech lab we work local partners in south Sudan to produce peace building radio drama for youth and we also look at research on hate speech and online hate speech to help them understand what kind of terminology is being used online. And what sorts of trends online hate speeches can lead to, to violence on ground” The director of peace media said that the role of the media goes two ways.

“I think media stands at a the critical nexus, between being able to provide accountability for the government as the watch dog also for social accountability and being able to provide voice for citizens that might not otherwise have it and with that come responsibility. Of course media have to be professional and ethical in their coverage. Otherwise there audience the general public could be damaged by in accurate reporting. In general I think the media has a critical role and need to be supported.”

Various media personnel from different media outlets in Addis Ababa participated in the training. Report by Kibrom Worku.