It is of no secret that the proliferation of hate speech has been a major call for concern especially now when Sierra Leone will hold its general election on June 24 2023.
It is on this ground that the management of Culture radio organized a day training for Journalists and bloggers as a way to enlighten on the need to combat hate speech in the cause of doing their job in informing and educating their various audiences.
The CEO of culture radio Father Elijah Mohamed Gegra noted that the purpose of the workshop is to help equip Journalists and bloggers to help counter hate speech.
He expressed his concern over the increase use of hate speech in the media, particularly on social media platforms, emphasizing that journalists and bloggers ought to be responsible in their reporting and to avoid promoting hate speech that could potentially incite violence and cause harm to individuals or groups.
The training, which was held on May 5 2023, was well attended by journalists and bloggers from various media outlets across the country.
The facilitator of the event Mustapha Sanassie Biro paid more premium on Insult, discrimination, dehumanization, demonization, incitement to violence as the key classification of hate speech amongst many others, with a nudge for all present to focus on the importance of promoting peace and unity through responsible reporting.
Participants were taken through various interactive sessions where they were educated on the dangers of hate speech and the role of the media in promoting peace and harmony in society.
They were also trained on how to identify and avoid hate speech in their reporting, and how to report on sensitive issues without promoting hate speech.
Speaking to reporters after the training, some participants expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to learn and be reminded of their responsibilities as journalists and bloggers. They pledged to use their platforms to promote peace and unity, and to avoid promoting hate speech in their reporting.
As Sierra Leone approaches its general election, it is crucial for the media to play a responsible role in promoting peaceful elections.
The training organized by Culture Radio is a step in the right direction towards achieving this goal, with hope that other media outlets will follow suit in promoting responsible journalism and avoiding hate speech.