ADDIS ABABA – The United States Embassy in Addis Ababa launched on Monday the first of 25 week-long media trainings throughout Ethiopia.
The comprehensive media capacity project will train approximately 500-700 journalists across the country, claims the embassy, adding that it has invested $450,000 in the project.
“The overall goal of these trainings to empower and educate journalists on their roles and responsibilities throughout the election process,” the embassy says.
The process includes educating voters on diverse issues, and monitoring and reporting on electoral activities to increase the transparency and accountability of all parties involved.
Amanda Jacobsen, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, underscored to journalists, “Your role as media professionals is critical in both uncovering and addressing the needs and challenges of citizens, as well as questioning sources, diversifying the types of people you interview, and countering mis- and disinformation as part of your daily responsibilities”.
Election-related topics to be covered include effective elections reporting; identifying mis- and dis-information; and COVID-19 reporting techniques.
The workshops will be facilitated “by experienced Ethiopian journalists and professors from schools of journalism”, according to the embassy.
An American media specialist developed the curriculum for the five-day sessions.
The initiative is implemented by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs in partnership with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and Addis Ababa University’s School of Journalism and Communications.
The embassy says the United States has invested nearly $35 million to support Ethiopia’s efforts to organize, administer, and conduct free and fair elections.
The support includes helping build the capacity of the NEBE, political parties, civil society, and independent media to contribute to a free, fair, and peaceful electoral process.
The United States is also supporting an international election observation effort, the embassy said.