Over fifty journalists have been drilled on skills to report the COVID-19 pandemic without fear or favour in order to instill hope in the population and fight any form of misinformation around the pandemic.
They were drilled on Saturday, May 9, during a webinar organised by the Cameroon Association of English-speaking journalists, CAMASEJ in partnership with UNESCO.
The exercise which still ran as part of activities marking the celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day brought together experts from the medical field and journalists to brainstorm on ways of better telling stories taking into context the local realities.
Thus, one of the speakers, Dr Thompson Kinge, Director of the Limbe Regional Hospital and expert in infectious diseases made an exposé on the origin of the COVID-19, the evolution, its prevent as well as the various scientific researches around the pandemic.
He stressed the importance for journalists to get the basis of the pandemic in order to better communicate to the public that relies on them for accurate information. For this to be possible, journalists need to work closely with health experts who in turn need them as a channel to reassure the population.
Another speaker at the webinar, Comfort Mussa, drilled participants on misinformation during a crisis like that being faced by world.
The award-winning journalist called on her peers to regularly fact-check stories, especially those previously published on the COVID-19 because these stories will stand the test of time and will serve as references in the future.
Looking at the stories around the pandemic from various angles, domesticating the pandemic to local realities as well as getting credible sources to authenticate information around the pandemic will naturally kill off misinformation, she added.
Meanwhile, the journalists have been on the field not only as reporters but equally actors in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 in Cameroon.
It is the case with journalists in Bamenda who received equipment last week from the National bureau of CAMASEJ to help them in the prevention of the virus as they go about their activities.