WINDHOEK – As a run-up to the official World Press Freedom Day celebrations, the Internet Society Namibia chapter yesterday hosted a bloggers training workshop attended by unemployed young people and media students.
In his opening remarks at the event, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) representative to Namibia, Jean Pierre IIboudo, said the aim of the training was to empower young unemployed youth as well as media students with blogging and coding skills.
“This means that at the end of the training, you should be able to create your own blogs, share your content in your local languages, which in return will promote Namibia’s local content online,” he told the participants.
He also told the participants that they were expected to act as information and communication technology (ICT) champions by educating people in their communities about ICT usage.
He also said bloggers help to make news instant, often to an international audience of followers.
Blogs are not only a way of providing up to date information but they also bring like-minded people together virtually, persuade and activate people, provide both mainstream and offbeat perspectives on events and people.
Further, IIboudo said in this digital age, online data has become the new currency of communications, journalism, advertising, policymaking and diplomacy.
The open nature of the Internet is a benefit to freedom of expression and access to information although it has its challenges.
“Hate speech, harassment and the leaking of personal information are dangerous hazards that can potentially affect every user,” he stated.
Journalists and media workers in particular need to circumnavigate these risks when working online, especially when it relates to source confidentiality.
A lecturer from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Hugh Ellis, taught the participants about the basics of blog sites and photography.
He explained to the participants that blogging was initially used as a unique platform where people shared their thoughts and experiences. “It’s an online journal or diary with a minimal following,” said Ellis. Also speaking to participants during the workshop was a media specialist from Nigeria, Janet Faden, who addressed the subject of access to information and service delivery, and encouraged participants to use multimedia to tell their own stories about Namibia instead of waiting on foreign media to do so.
The participants were also taught on reporting on transparency, social media and personal brand management as well as designing their blogs.
World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on May 3. This year’s formal celebrations, however, take place today under the global theme ‘Keeping power in check: media, justice and the rule of law’.