Journalists from Turkmen television and radio, main newspapers, magazines and regional media organizations familiarized themselves with the United Nations treaties and conventions related to human rights as well as aspects of news journalism at a two-day workshop in Ashgabat on 7-8 July. This workshop was organized within the framework of the project of the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) titled “Strengthening the national capacity of Turkmenistan to promote and protect human rights.”
“Developing the capacity of journalists to cover professionally social affairs and stories related to human rights is one of the most promising avenues to follow in further modernizing Turkmen media,” said Marek Bekerman, international media expert, who facilitated the workshop.
The workshop participants analyzed types of news in the media and compared traditional and modern ways of telling a story. They also learnt how to apply news criteria through exercises in formulating and structuring a news item in a modern and professional format. Of particular interest for journalists was the session “the art of the interview,” where they discussed the concept of active newsgathering and practiced interviewing techniques.
The workshop culminated in discussing practical ways of promoting and raising awareness of human rights through the media. Examples of documentary films with a human rights focus or dimension were shown for this purpose. “The media plays a crucial role in promoting human rights among the general population and in ensuring the protection of the rights of citizens by the state. Covering stories related to human rights issues is essential for the propagation of a culture of human rights and a qualitative change in society in this respect,” said Mohammed Al-Tarawneh, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, who delivered one of the sessions at the workshop.
The EU/UNDP/OHCHR project “Strengthening the national capacity of Turkmenistan to promote and protect human rights” is implemented in partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan. Its overall objective is to increase knowledge on international human rights standards and mechanisms in Turkmenistan and to strengthen national capacities to promote and protect human rights in accordance with these standards.