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Journalists and tobacco control advocates undergo training

Accra, July 29, GNA – A three-day workshop for
journalists and tobacco control advocates has ended in Accra with a call on
journalists to carry out comprehensive investigative reportage to expose the
activities of the tobacco industry.

The workshop, under the theme: “Engaging the
Media in Effective Tobacco Control Advocacy”, was organised by the Campaign for
Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), a global tobacco-free organisation and supported by
African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) and Environmental Rights Action
(ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FOEN).

It was hosted by the Vision for Alternative
Development (VALD), a non-governmental organisation in Ghana and attended by
participants from seven West African countries namely Ghana, Nigeria, Benin,
Cameroon, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Some of the topics the participants were taken
through, included “Tobacco Control (TC) and the Media: A Global Perspective,”
“Mainstreaming Tobacco Control in The Media,” “Building Synergy between Tobacco
Industry Accountability Campaigns and Media Advocacy,” “Framing TC for Media
Reports: A Sneak Peek into The Newsroom” and “Key Elements of Investigative Report
– Tips on undercover Reporting”

The objective of the event was to build strong
networks between the journalists and tobacco control advocates in Africa to
help in the campaign against tobacco use. 

Dr Akwasi Kyei-Faried, Deputy Director and the
Focal Person for Tobacco Control – Ghana Health Service, urged journalists to
stay ahead of the tobacco industry by writing to inform and educate the youth
to be conscious of the harmful effects of tobacco use.

He said people should be told that there is
nothing good in tobacco and what it does is to destroy, brings about poverty,
ill-health and cost national economies huge sums of monies.

Dr Kyei-Faried, who spoke on the topic:
“Tobacco versus Public Health: the Ghana Story”, said tobacco smoking and
alcohol were risk factors which push people to have non-communicable diseases
such as heart diseases, diabetes, chronic lung diseases, mental disorders and
injuries.

He said: “If you are a journalist and for the
whole year you have not written a story on tobacco with its harmful effect on
the people and the economies of your countries then it is very unfortunate.”

Madam Hilda Ochefu, the West Africa
Sub-Regional Coordinator of CTFK, urged journalists to learn investigative
skills and always keep their ears and eyes on the ground to monitor the
movement of the tobacco industry, which has adopted various strategies to lure
young people into tobacco smoking.

The facilitators of the workshop are Mr
Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Executive Director ERA/FOEN; Mr Philip Jakpor, Head
of Campaigns, ERA/FOEN; Mr Richard Baguma, Uganda Communication Health
Alliance; Mr Dayo Aiyetan, Executive Director, International Centre for
Investigative Reports; Ms Olufunmilayo Ajala, Digital Journalism Expert; and Mr
Leonce Sessou, Communication Manager, ATCA.

The trainees were given certificate of
participation.

GNA

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