How can the local communities be involved more in Citizen Journalism?

I think Local communities have a very big role to play in as far as citizen Journalism is concerned. So many times, things happen in Local communities and these are both positive and negative. There are issues of land wrangles, defilement and domestic violence. Then issues of innovative technologies and discoveries and other positive related issues. These are some of the things that have to be written about/reported and discussed, but because people think that it is the duty of qualified Journalist to report through the main media, they ignore such issues and no body ever gets to know about them.

There is a big role local communities can play in Citizen Journalism. Moses Owiny, a citizen Journalist from the Kubere Information Centre in Apac district-Northern Uganda had this to say. I personally think it’s important that community members get to know about citizen journalism and the role they can play in society. This implies that they need some training like I and Maureen etc have got to be able to report on issues that affects their development. However, resource constraints and levels of literacy may not permit many to get this opportunity.

With still the limited number of trained citizen journalist, it’s upon us the few to ensure our communities report on issues that affect them so we can write about it to cover the gaps the mainstream journalist/media can make since they hardly reach rural areas.

Roles of intermediate organisations/telecenters or any organisation in rural areas can greatly help, in that communities come to the centres and verbally or in writing make known their problems so that the trained citizen journalist like me can make it known outside through discussions and writings in for example blogs, through websites, emails and other social networking tools that enables many to know what is happening in any particular part of the country or location. Therefore, an aggressive sensitization, training and awareness to the local communities about citizen journalism and the role they can play in making issues that affect their lives known to a wider audience can achieve some goals in the long run.

And this is what Cissy Nyarwa abeneficiary of the CJA project had to say

“Dear Moses, congratulations. We are many trained in citizen journalism now. It is a question of time to start collecting news and posting them on the site. I am perfect now in doing this and hope we will keep fire burning.” http://www.cnn.com/ireport/ on CNN is an example of a very good way of involving the local communities. They can only be involved more by sensitizing them about Citizen Journalism and encouraging them to report.

Contributors:

Maureen Agena for Women of Uganda Network.

Moses Owiny for Kubere Information Centre

Cissy Nyarwa for NVIWODA

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