Part of InternewsNext, a series highlighting 30 youth-led media initiatives.
The Department of Journalism at the University of Bangui graduated its first class of professionally trained journalists this month, and celebrated their achievement at an Internews-sponsored ceremony.
“These new graduates will have a challenging job to do, which is to revolutionize the press in Central Africa,” said Jéremie Soupou, one of the graduates of the program.
Soupou is also the coordinator of The Association of Journalists for Human Rights (AJHR), Internews’ local partner in CAR. AJHR employs Soupou and four other graduates from the University. “We are honored by the interest that Internews has shown towards this new generation of journalists,” said Soupou.
More than 50 students are expected to graduate from the three-year program in the next two years, which will contribute to a significant improvement in the capacity of journalists and the media sector in CAR. Currently most journalists in the country are self-trained and have little or no formal training in the technical or ethical aspects of journalism. Through this new diploma program, aspiring journalists are able to develop and expand their skill set and receive hands-on training before working as full time journalists.
At the graduation, Internews staff and guests also celebrated the organization’s 30th anniversary. For the past 30 years, Internews has worked in more than 75 countries around the world, supporting the development of independent media and journalism. Project director Jeroen Corduwener remarked, “Internews celebrates its first 30 years at a time when the Central African Republic produces its first 30 journalism graduates. This is not a fluke. This is a sign of the times. We must continue our work in this country.”