Members of Association for Catholic Journalists (ACJ) from Lilongwe Arch Diocese and Dedza Diocese have been trained on reporting skills on theCOVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus.

During the workshop on Saturday at Bishop Nervi House in Lilongwe, industry experts shared skills on investigative reporting during the pandemic, continuity presentation and producing effective radio programs.

Also, the Ministry of Health shared with the journalists on correct information on Coronavirus and COVID-19.

Chairperson for ACJ Central Chapter, Sam Kalimba said the training came at the right time to assist the journalists to have correct information of the new pandemic and to enhance their reporting skills so that they can better inform society.

Fr. Gonino Phokoso, National Coordinator for Communication and Social Research at the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) emphasizedthat the workshop was very important because it empowers the Catholic professionals working in different church and private media institutions to give to the public an accurate information about COVID-19.

“Journalists need to be equipped with knowledge sothat they know what to communicate to people and that they communicate authentic information.” He emphasised

“It becomes a shame when you see a Catholic journalist reporting or not presenting facts as they are on radio or on TV. With this training, the Catholic church aim is being fulfilled on empowering Catholic journalists to be really professional in reporting this pandemic.” He said adding that the trained journalists will now report facts as they are and with confidence

Fr. Phokoso also noted that the pandemic has greatly affected the life of church due to deaths andthe measures that governments have taken world over.

“The church looks at the person in two dimensions; body and soul. So, we look at social life of Christian and the spiritual life of the Christian.

We also value the sanctity and dignity of life. Now, over a million cases have been confirmed globally, and we have four confirmed cases in Malawi. This is a cause for worry for the Catholic church because we need the same person in the church, we need the same person to contribute towards the life of the church; be it economically, be it spiritually and in many ways.”

“As Catholic church we are not happy with the deaths, we have lost lives of over 50 thousand people globally due to this pandemic.” He explained

He added that that the sacramental life of the church has equally been affected following complete suspension of the Holy Mass in other dioceses.“Some of the rites during the mass will not be there.

Like on Palm Sunday, some of the rites are not there such as the procession, and the reading of thelong Passion Gospel has been cut short to accommodate more masses following government order that there should not be more than 100 people congregating.” indicated Fr. Phokoso

Over 50 Catholic journalists participated in the training. Participants were splint into two clusters and the seats were two metres apart as one way of observing government restrictions on public gatherings and social distance measures.The training which was coordinated by the ACJ withtechnical support from ECM and the Ministry of Health, was financed by Trocaire.

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