Monday, December 7, 2009

No Journalists in Seychelles!

Study reveals Seychelles journalism training gap
Monday, 07 December 2009
A STUDY carried out among Seychelles Journalists shows that only six out of the total of 30 print media journalists have had any formal training in the field, writes Dennis Itumbi for
The problem is even worse in the electronic media where only 2 out of forty journalists were trained journalists.
Conducted under the auspices of Seychelles Institute of Management (SIM) , the study also shows that there are vacancies for journalists but no qualified candidates to fill them.
In an exclusive interview with, SIM's chief executive Anne Lafortune says that the institution would respond to the findings of the study by launching a part time course targeting practicing journalists.
“With the help of UNESCO, SIM has acquired the capacity to run such a course. The purchase of books and recruitment of Seychelles trainers and a consultant is underway,” said Mrs Lafortune.
Previously, there has been no formal training of journalists in the island known for its leisure tourism spots.
According to a website posting that gives details on how the initiative was conceived, project manager Paul Kang’ethe said: “At the time of proposing the project there was no institution offering media training locally, apart from a training unit within the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) that offered training to its employees only."
“The only training opportunities available for working print media journalists were enrolling for distance learning courses and attending seminars and conferences both locally and overseas."
“The project has built the capacity of the SIM to offer a certificate course in journalism and a diploma in the field in the future.”
Seychelles has since outlined an intention to introduce a media regulator for its growing media industry.


Anonymous said...

What a biased article!

There are many journalists in Seychelles. They are called SPPF-Le Pep Political journalists. Or is Mrs. Lafortune telling us that Onezime is not a qualified journalist? And what about all the great articles in the Nation that tells us what a great leader James Michel is? What about the People's journalists? What about the Rising Sun editor Percy Ahman?

What Mrs. Lafortune should have told us is that the Media of Seychelles, apart from Volcere, Mancienne and Ferrari who writes for Regar and the Nouveau Weekly, belongs to the SPPF Le Pep Party, and is controlled by that party so that it remains in power forever.

As for the Media Regulator, I guess he or she will soon be announced by the President.... Poor Afif, poor Jacqueline Moustache-Belle and poor Onezime! Maybe one of them will be rewarded with the job. After all, they have licked and sucked until their lips are sore and bloody red. Or maybe we will get a new Irish Media Regulator if we are so lucky who will make one hundred thousand rupees a month plus house and car and international school fees paid by Le Pep. Or maybe Michel will appoint a superstar like Hendricks Gappy who controls the voter registry on his own and is at the beck and call of the President himself - the Larry King of Media in Seychelles, and the Minister of Information. After bankrupting Seychelles as Minister of Finance, at least he (Michel the God) is doing a fantastic job of controlling SBC-TV, Nation, SBC-Radio and everything that spell MEDIA! After all, M-E-D-I-A in Seychelles stands for:


Amazing what a dumb Cable and Wireless clerk can become.Kile Journalists... let Jj travay and manipulate.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Is this really a total shock to anyone??? Come only has to read the articles from the Nation and other govt sponsored mediums, and you can tell that -
A) there is no professionalism
B) no common sense
C) barely any education or specialization within a particular industry
D) there is govt favouritism
E) barely any committment to giving the truth when it comes to sensitive issues
F) no respect for individuals

There are more I am sure.

Hopefully the new training will not be a refresher course of Cuban journalism and that the participants know what it means to provide real information to the people.

These people , or better yet their employers, should be ashamed of themselves. How can you trust someone to provide critical info to a population that requires info, when they know that they are not qualified? Especially at this point in time??

My God, it's the same as asking any Tom Dick or Harry to conduct an operation or fly a plane...without any training!
Same principle.

To tell you the truth, I'm not really surprised.

This begs the question now:
How many other "professionals "within different ministries and govt posts are also not qualified? How about a study on that please? Hello, SIM, are you reading this?

This study of course will never happen and will never be published within a government newspaper.



Anonymous said...

Did the article say anythign about the qualifications of the journalists of Regar, Weekly, Rising Sun etc?

What if your opinions does it take to become a good journalist? To write what we want to read? If that's the case then 54% of the population would say that Nation's journalists excel in their field, 46% would say they don't. the figures would of course be vice versa for Regar.

I must say I miss a 100% independent media in seychelles, one that would report facts even if those facts were against the opinion of the journalist.

Patrick X

Anonymous said...

I would like to go a bit deeper into our journalism and debate wether or not it matters for a small place like Seychelles if a majority of its journalists are trained or not and wether it is possible for such a place to have neutral and objective journalists.

If one looks at our media it is not hard to see and realize that the claim about Nation favouring of the government is indeed true in many ways, but when one considers the fact that most newspapers worldwide favour one political party or another, then Nation is in now way unique. Naturally the critics of Nation will mainly be supporters of the opposition or individuals who feel criticized by one of its articles, for instance a shop who has been painted black in one of Nation’s rather badly documented statistics where they tend to compare apples and pears or granite and coral for that matter. The same naturally applies for critics of Regar, Seychelles Weekly and our other media who each tend to lean to one political pole or another. So what is unique about our media? So far nothing really if one draws parallels with for instance the Italian media which Berlusconi controls parts of. So in that sense we are quite normal, but what about our journalists?

Having media where a majority of our journalists are untrained may seem like the credibility of the articles we read can be of second or third grade, but if we look at it from a different perspective we will find that it doesn’t necessarily take a trained journalist to write a good article, but a good author. A journalist is after all merely an author with training in research and certain rules of ethic that apply for the media. I am no journalist, but I consider myself a fairly good author and debater, but havn’t the slightest clue about any rules regarding how to write a good article. On can drag it further out and ask wether or not a blogger can be considered as a journalist and personally I’d say yes as the blogger is reporting a case that is either of interest to the public or means something to him/herself.

So does it matter wether or not our journalists are trained or not? My personal opinion is a clear no, but it does not mean that all our journalists are good, far from. Now if you ask the same question to supporters of the opposition they’d probably say “yes, it does matter that those Nation journalists are untrained”, but will refrain to add a “,but it’s totally ok that the Regar ones are not trained as they write the truth”. The truth in that matter is whatever oneself wants to believe, i.e Regar criticizes the PL and 46% of the population(more like 16% of it after SNPs lack of progress the last years) cheer in chorus saying ‘tell ‘em’, but when the Nation criticizes SNP it’s always a lie. Trained journalist or not. Now that again leads to something that has struck me regarding our media. Why is it that the names of our journalists are never published together with the articles? Isn’t it good and professional journalism to do so? I do not know if they do so in the paper issues, but I can’t recall seeing a single name of a journalist on the online articles of Nation. Is that done intentionally or is it just negligence?


Anonymous said...

So my opinion is that it doesn’t really matter wether or not our journalists are trained, but I’d like to add that it does help and is preferred if it is combined with good authorship. Now back to the last part of the debate. Can we ever have an independent and objective press in Seychelles? I believe we can’t for the following reasons:

- We are a small population where people are ‘either or’ and a grey zone inbetween is synonymous with belonging to the other side. You are in other words as George Walker Bush said: ‘either with us or against us’.

- Being a small nation living in a limited area it is easy to step on someone’s toes. Even while treading with the uttermost care you are bound to step on a twig and wake somebody’s dog who’ll start barking and send a pearl on ‘liki ou manmans’ on a string stretching from the ‘leo’ to the nearest beach.
- Family bonds are strong amongst the Seychellois and even households are ‘either or’ so a journalist would be playing with fire if he dared contradict his kin’s political view

- The fear of governmental surveillance, a relic that still haunts many Seychellois from the time of France Albert Rene where disappearances were common.

- The fear of contradicting one’s employer, public or private and feeling the pinch afterwards.

So despite freedom of speech, a right France Albert Rene claimed we had during his years, I don’t see that we can have neutral journalism in Seychelles, at least not for another decade or three when the then generation may have learbed to overcome the fear of the past and practice that right called freedom of speech.

I was listening to an interesting interview on radio a year or so ago where an ex top Russian official, now residing in Switzerland after jumping off confirmed that there was freedom of speech in Russia and many other similar countries. Only problem is that the freedom ceases after the speech. I believe our situation is very similar indeed. He also stated that during the Soviet era there was no freedom, but there was justice. Today there is freedom, but no justice.

With this I hope we can have a good debate about wether or not it is possible to practice journalism in Seychelles the way one can in a civilized Western country. If you don’t believe me just buy a copy of every available paper and you’ll see what I mean.

Patrick X

Anonymous said...

The British High Commissioner did Seychelles no favors by choosing to send the East European Seychellois from SBC to do a degree course in Journalism in UK at British Taxpayers expense, only for her to return and become Press Secretary for a corrupt and dishonest government at Statehouse. Well Done, money well spent?

Anonymous said...

Patrick X,

I believe that Seychelles can have a independent newspaper which reports the news as it is, and not as it should be.

As you rightly said, Albert Rene and James Michel put the fear of guns, death and disappearance into our lives, and killed any semblance of freedom of press in the country.

But the torch of freedom cannot be extinguished. Just like slavery disappeared, just like the French people rose up against the royalty of France, just like World War II ended and Hitler disappeared, jjust like Seychelles became independent, just like America elected its first black president....time marches on and life continues to evolve and change around us. Albert Rene will march on too, and so will James Michel as they are both humans. The road is long, but we all know where it ends.

In 2010, you will see a new, professional and non-political independent newspaper in Seychelles. This will be the first real gift of democracy to the people of Seychelles.

Anonymous said...

I still think that it is pretty much impossible, but I am looking forward to that independent newspaper and being able to read its articles.

Let us hope that its editor is as independent as the paper's image when it all boils down. And its journalists? Will they be trained journalists or untrained like the majority of the current? ;-)

Not that the latter matters to my opinion, just curious. Time will however tell how independent the paper will be. Time will tell.

Patrick X

Anonymous said...

When I graduated from Uni and moved back to Seychelles, I was put on the same salaries as people who didn't even study 1 line of journalism. Ti fer mwan araze, parske ti annan ki ti menm dir mwan obliy tou sa ki uni in montre ou, isi nou pa "care" akoz nou lalwa i diferan. Lalwa diferan? Ou vedir ki isi "gran msye pe vey tou sa ki ou ekri dan ou script?" Ti annan letan ki zot ti dir "e ou la, pa dir sa lo TV, wa ganny kouyon!"

Tro bokou politik dan SBC, so I quit. Then they complain that real qualified people leave the country.

Anonymous said...

That's exactly what the policy of the SPUP/SPPF/PL is my friend:

Get rid of all who are a threat either because they know more, have a different opinion or simply are a threat to their own well-being.

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