Vitryska journalister på kurs i web-produktion i Kalmar.

Journalists from Belarus pose for a group photo during a web publishing course in Kalmar, Sweden. Independent news media has improved in terms of the journalistic approach, design and labour management.

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Belarusian journalists trained in Kalmar

Published: 7 October 2009 Updated: 22 August 2014

Kalmar is the centre for providing basic and further education to more than 800 Belarusian journalists. This represents an important contribution in maintaining the limited freedoms of expression and the press in Belarus.

Sida’s partner in this important democratic project is the Institute for Further Education of Journalists (Fojo).  Fojo is a part of the University of Kalmar.

Agneta Söderberg Jacobsson, a trainer at Fojo, says:

“With these efforts, we want to support independent journalists in their work and strengthen the few independent forms of news media that remain in Belarus.”

Better training and stronger professional organization

The project has two other specific sub-purposes: to improve journalistic training in Belarus and to strengthen the independent journalists’ organization, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ).

The training is mainly done at Fojo in Kalmar, but has also been carried out in Lithuania and, in some cases, in Belarus.

The courses generally run for one or two weeks. They are then followed up just over one month later with short evaluation seminars and additional lectures. The follow-up seminars measure the effect of the courses by seeing how the journalists are applying their new skills.

Belarusian media trainers to provide training

“The long-term goal is for Fojo not to be needed,” Söderberg Jacobsson says. “We’re working for the BAJ itself to be able to offer its members qualified education. We’re doing that partly by training local media trainers.”

Twelve BAJ members have received tailor-made training at Fojo in Kalmar to become media trainers themselves.

Thanks to  co-operation between the BAJ and Fojo, there is now a large group of well-educated independent journalists in Belarus. The co-operation has also made the BAJ more attractive as an industry organization; the number of members has increased considerably in recent years. The members are working with all forms of media.

The project has achieved three results

Fojo sees three principal results based on the project:

  • The level of education has risen among independent journalists.
  • Independent news media has improved in terms of the journalistic approach, design and labour management.
  • The BAJ has improved as an organization; it now has the ability to provide training and has more members.

Page owner: Department for Europe and Latin America

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