MINDANAO JOURNALISTS ATTEND CONFLICT-RESOLVING MEDIA COURSE IN AUSTRALIA
Six journalists and one communication/media practitioner from Mindanao were sponsored by the Australian Government to attend the Conflict-Resolving Media course at the University of Sydney in Australia from 11-17 January.
The journalists who attended the course are Julie Alipala of Philippine Daily Inquirer-Mindanao (Zamboanga) and Newsbreak; Amalia Cabusao, editor in chief of Mindanao Times in Davao City; MindaNews’ (Koronadal and General Santos) reporter Allen Estabillo; Edwin Fernandez, station manager of DXMS in Cotabato City; Jeoffrey Maitem of Philippine Daily Inquirer-Mindanao (Cotabato City); and Temujin Ocampo, GMA-Davao TV news anchor. Also joining the group is Romeo Montenegro, head of the Communications and Media Affairs of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo).
The course aims to upgrade the participating journalists’ capacities on the principles and application of peace journalism that will help them make choices on what stories to report and how to report them in order to create opportunities for the people of Mindanao to consider and value non-violent responses to conflict. At the end of the course, the participants would have gained practical skills in peace journalism, the ability to devise media interventions in conflict-affected areas, diagnose 'war journalism' and 'peace journalism' and analyse conflict in a journalism context.
The Australian Government is a strong and committed supporter of peace and development in Mindanao, with its official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines strategically focused on Southern Philippines. In 2006-2007, Australian aid to Mindanao is estimated at 60 percent of total ODA. Australian aid program in Mindanao supports a range of development activities aimed at improving economic growth, basic education, and human security and national stability, covering major areas of development priorities – support to peace and development efforts, basic education and training including Muslim education, human resource development, local governance, community assistance, agrarian reform and rural development, malaria control and prevention.
Australia, through its international aid agency AusAID, has allocated A$70 million in ODA to the Philippines in 2006-07. Australia and the Philippines are close regional partners and the two countries share an interest in reducing poverty and improving stability and security in the Philippines.