Mindanao Journalists Receive Training on Safety during the Pandemic

Journalists from the Mindanao region learnt about the differences between MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, the difference between aerosol and droplet transmission of virus and much more in a workshop organized by Mindanao Institute of Journalism in the Philippines and UNESCO on 4 June 2021.

Knowing the accurate terminology related to the COVID-19 will help journalists to produce higher quality reports and, in the process, will help the public to better understand the current pandemic. Just as importantly, knowing how the virus is transmitted and the various precautionary measures may help journalists stay safe.

Dr Gail Tan Ilagan, President of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism, who opened the training noted the importance of journalists in ensuring their safety even when reporting on the pandemic.

Mr Pieter Terpstra, Deputy Head of Mission of the Netherlands Embassy in Manila, in his remarks, stressed the crucial work of journalists in reporting on the pandemic. He reiterated that freedom of expression is a top priority and the Netherlands is committed to supporting press freedom and safety of journalists globally and in the Philippines.

Participants benefited from the expertise of Dr Thaddeus Averilla, the Head of Infection Control Committee at Madonna Medical Center who explained in great length the various aspects of COVID-19. In addition to the basics of the virus and its transmission, Dr Averilla also discussed the various treatments, issues of reinfection, quarantine, vaccine, and the phenomenon of disinfodemic.

This workshop is part of the training series to strengthen the safety of journalists and professional journalistic standards in the Philippines organized by the Mindanao Institute of Journalism and UNESCO with support from the Netherlands. Other topics in the series will include “safety in covering post disasters” and “covering peace and conflict in Mindanao”. UNESCO has been actively supporting journalists in the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNESCO is the UN specialized agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and access to information. It leads the global implementation of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. UNESCO actively contributes to attaining Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 16 related to access to information.