Monday, 25 October 2004  
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Workshop on human development reporting

The German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) will team up with the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLP) to provide a week-long specialised training workshop on "Human development reporting" to the SLPI's first batch of 30 trainee journalists.

The workshop, will focus exclusively on reporting on development-oriented issues, to be held on Monday, October 25 at the SLPI's College of Journalism training facility in Colombo.

It will be conducted by Dr. Heinz-Rudolf Othmerding, an experienced trainer from the reputed Deutsche Presse-agentur GmbH (German Press Agency).

According to Country Director for GTZ Sri Lanka, Dr. Roland Steurer GTZ embarked on this initiative to boost Sri Lankan journalists' awareness on serious issues surrounding development.

"GTZ, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, assists the Sri Lankan government in a multitude of developmental efforts. Therefore, it is in our interest to also help produce journalists who are capable and competent of covering issues surrounding development," Dr. Steurer said.

He said that international donors and implementing agencies welcome a healthy and transparent dialogue led by the media on the development work that is taking place.

"Ideally, it is in everyone's interest to have a media that goes beyond the covering of opening ceremonies. A country's development would be enhanced by a dynamic media which discusses development in a critical and significant manner," Dr. Steurer added.

In the past the Federal Republic of Germany through GTZ has mobilised US$ 10-13 million annually as technical assistance to Sri Lanka, supporting program in economic reform, education reform and peace-building.

The Sri Lanka Press Institute was incorporated in January 2003 and established under the aegis of the Sri Lanka College of Journalism to produce journalists of excellence.

Its director Tilak Jayaratne said the workshop on human development reporting would help carve out standards of good journalism that could enhance progress in countries like Sri Lanka.

"This week of specialised training would augment the college's curriculum and help the students focus on an area of journalism that also deserves special attention," he said.

During the final three days of the workshop, the trainees will travel to Batticaloa on a field visit, where they will have a first-hand look at human development and peace-building work currently being carried out by the GTZ-supported Food Security and Conflict Transformation Project (FSCT).

The workshop will cover topics on rural reporting; how to identify good development stories; how to look beyond signing and opening ceremonies and to focus on the impact of development projects on individuals and communities; how to draw communities into the development dialogue; and on the impact of good journalism and good journalists on the development of a country.

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