FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Five radio broadcast journalists from Guinea-Bissau, Africa, have enrolled in a new certificate program in peace journalism at Rhode Island College.
The team of reporters hail from Rádio Sol Mansi (Radio Sunrise) and consist of Amadu Uri Djaló, the editor-and-chief who oversees 40 national correspondents and 30 journalists; Anabela Bull Ramalho, program director; Casimiro Cajucan, producer and journalist; Mamadu Saido Embaló, chief technician; and Armando Mussá Sani, trainer in the Portuguese language.
The Pro Dignitate Foundation for Human Rights in Lisbon, Portugal, selected Rhode Island College as a training site because of the global mission of RIC’s Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies and because of the college’s location – Rhode Island has the highest concentration of Portuguese people, including Portuguese-speaking Cape Verdeans, in the United States.
While the peace journalism program begins in Summer 2015, the journalists engaged in a two-week orientation to campus life this summer from June 19 through July 2. The purpose of the orientation was to train the journalists in “survival” English – words and phrases that will allow them to navigate on campus and off, while acclimating to life in America. They toured two Portuguese-American radio stations – WJFD Radio Globo in New Bedford and WHTB Rádio Voz Do Emigrante in Fall River. And they participated in a weeklong professional development workshop led by Pedro Bicudo, international journalist and former Washington correspondent for Portuguese Public Television RTP.
“Taking their reality as a first step, we worked on standards and formats that could help them improve their work at Rádio Sol Mansi,” Bicudo said.
Peace journalism is critical for Guinea-Bissau and for Africa in general, said RIC Professor of History and Africana Studies Peter Mendy, whose research focuses on democratization and war-to-peace transitions in Guinea-Bissau.
“Peace journalism is an effort to establish and maintain peace through ethical reporting,” he said. During elections in Guinea-Bissau and in other parts of Africa, there are radio broadcast journalists who are “bought” by politicians and become openly in favor of one politician over another, he explained. This lack of ethical or unbiased reporting often leads to violence, and in Rwanda’s case, it led to genocide, according to Mendy. He said: “Lists of people to be slaughtered were read by journalists over the radio.”
The visiting journalists plan to return to RIC over the next two summers to complete the certificate program.
RIC’s Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies is dedicated to the promotion and support of Portuguese studies and to fostering connections between the college and Lusophone communities in the region. The Institute sponsors lectures, conferences, artistic exhibitions, cultural performances, adult enrichment courses, workshops and youth and family-centered events as well as professional development workshops for elementary and secondary teachers of the Portuguese language.
Established in 1854, Rhode Island College serves approximately 9,000 graduate and undergraduate students through its five schools: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, the School of Social Work, the School of Management and the School of Nursing. For more information, visit www.ric.edu.