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Political Parties to Attend Media Training Workshop

26 May 2007 at 02:27 | 256 views

According to a UNIOSIL press release, representatives of the eight registered Political Parties will benefit from a media training workshop jointly organized by the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The event, which will take place on Tuesday 29 May at the UNIOSIL headquarters Mammy Yoko Hotel Freetown, aims at enabling participants to effectively communicate their messages through the news media, and to encourage political dialogue among the contesting political parties in their relationships with one another, and with the media.

The workshop will be facilitated by Ghanaian Journalist for the BBC World Service, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo(photo) and a representative of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).

In a related development and in preparation for the forthcoming general elections, UNIOSIL Public Information Office and Foundation Hirondelle will also be holding Training of Trainers workshops on electoral reporting for staff of Cotton Tree News (CTN) and UN Radio from 28 May to 1 June 2007.

A Wikipedia entry on Kofi Sakyi-Addo has this to say:

Kwaku Sakyi Addo is by many accounts, Ghana’s foremost practising journalist. There are many objective grounds for this view: he has won Ghana’s Journalist of the Year Award twice, the only media practitioner in the country to attain the feat, and is the reporter of choice for the world’s most prestigious news outlets on current affairs in Ghana. As the country correspondent for both Reuters and the BBC, his reports about Ghana are circulated worldwide.

His reporting style is restrained, to-the-point and usually free of flowery metaphors, though he has been known to indulge occasionally. Remarking on a book chronicling the journalism career of Elizabeth Ohene, presently a Minister of State in Ghana’s ruling Government, he said it "transport[s] you almost bodily and leave you smack in mid-May 1979 to the deep end of the putrid 70s." Ghanaweb.com report of Friday, 8 December 2006.

Some contend that he is a better interviewer than writer. Having interviewed almost every prominent international dignitary to visit Ghana from the mid-nineties to the close of the decade, Kwaku has produced some revealing moments with his probing yet laid-back interrogatory manner. In a chat with esteemed public intellectual, Ali Mazrui, the Kenyan admitted that he enjoyed the life of the mind because he was keenly aware there were few practical virtues he possessed. The Kenyan thinker responded to Kwaku’s searching inquiries, what else will I do? Drive a bus? I can’t even drive my own car.

In another interview with Ghana’s former Finance Minister and current Director of the African Studies Program at Harvard University, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, a noted Socialist, he inquired why the renowned Economist had not taken up a post at one of the foreign institutes at Pyongyang instead of accepting a job in Boston, a city which embodies the capitalist qualitities of the U.S.A. Dr. Botchwey replied, "no, I wouldn’t like that, but that said, I am not too sure what [the North Koreans] ’are doing over there’ is really communism, either." Kwaku has achieved widespread acclaim for the frequency of moments such as these.

Despite speculation that the Rawlings regime was uncomfortable with Kwaku’s dogged independent-mindedness as a national commentator, and that powerful forces conspired to keep him off air, he is regarded, across the spectrum of Ghanaian society, as the most non-partisan, unsullied, media practitioner who has worked in all three major forms of media: radio, television and print.

But there have been occasions where the same unbending commitment to professional ethic has not endeared him to certain sections of the populace. When the previous occupant of the Golden Stool - arguably Ghana’s most prestigious traditional monarchy - passed away, Kwaku placed vociferous support for journalists who defied the customary injunction against releasing the news to the public before the specified period of ’palace mourning’ had passed.

Education
Kwaku received his secondary education from one of Ghana’s foremost boarding schools, Achimota College. Founded by a past colonial Governor, Achimota is renowned for having trained exceedingly more national leaders than even its closest rivals Mfantsipim, Prempeh, Presec, and Yaa Asantewaa. He proceeded to the University of Ghana’s School of Communications, also the premium school of journalism in Ghana. He was sponsored by the Thmopson Foundation to study at the University of Wales in Cardiff, has taken courses at the International Institute of Journalism in Berlin, and was a one-time Chevening Scholar. He is currently a Permanent Fellow of the World Press Institute at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Career
Kwaku presents Ghana’s longest-running radio series, The Front Page, universally acknowledged as the country’s most sophisticated news/current affairs radio program. Though fans of his rival Komla Dumor will be hard put to be gracious to that view. His work has been published in The Economist, The Washington Post and Newsweek. International figures who have been subjected to his brand of soul-searching includes: Kofi Annan, past Secretary-General Boutros Ghali, Jimmy Carter, one-time Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Shamir, former British Cabinet Minister Lord Carrington, Bono, and his American soulmate Larry King of Larry King Live.

He is a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, a forum for continental leaders to define the next threshold for visionary leadership in Africa affiliated with the Aspen Institute.

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