Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The last posting to the Internet workshop for journalists

The last posting to the Internet workshop for journalists

On the fifth or the last day of the Internet workshop, most of the works we did was more or less practical rather than theoretical.

We started with facilitation from Mr. Maggid Mjengwa, a veteran journalist and an experienced bloger on the subject of blogs and citizen journalism.

We went through his blog together, reading stories and looking at authentic pictures that were taken from different places of the country.

The pictures were able to tell the stories, there were pictures showing a person moving to another home using a tricycle instead of a vehicle, the way of living for some of Mikumi residents - definitely poverty stricken.

There were also pictures that can make someone relax; they were closely linked to leisure namely the picture of President Kikwete and his first born son who were in a festive mood.

Mjengwa revealed that the blog is open for those who want to make comments, however, the comments are directly sent to him so that they can be filtered to avoid having irrelevant comments.

He argued that as far as the pace of blogging is gaining tempo, most advertising needs would be undertaken using blogs contrary to the current use of adverts through TVs, radios and newspapers.

The skills that I acquired for one week is a treasure as far as my job is concerned. As a head of the Business Desk at my media house, I will use the skills to research, search and process stories that need more material.

As I am also a columnist in “the business analysis” feature, I will be able to get accurate and reliable information through web page searching then combine with material from other sources.

In short, this workshop (Internet for journalists) will help me even when I want to write a big story (lead story) because I will be sure of getting the background and some materials from the Internet.

African countries face impending harms after signing EPA

African countries face impending harms after signing EPA

African countries face impending harms after signing EPA
Timothy Kitundu
The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) are a scheme to create a free trade area (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

The agreements, according to Wikipedia free encyclopaedia are a response to continuing criticism that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential trade agreements offered by the EU are incompatible with World Trade organization (WTO) rules.

According to OXFAM’s ‘Slamming the Door on Development: Analysis of the EU’s response to the Pacific’s EPA negotiating proposals’ a major problem is the reciprocal nature of the trade agreement, particularly since the EU has a national income over one thousand times that of the Pacific.

It is further revealed that a reciprocal agreement between such unequal regions may have the same rules for each party, but the result will favour the EU over the ACP countries.

The comparison is that of putting a schoolboy in a boxing ring with a heavyweight pro.
Even if the schoolboy is given a few extra points on the scorecard, the basic rules
of boxing are the same for each, and the boy will get beaten up every time.

As the EC’s own website explains, “Our experience tells us that FTAs between a large market like the EU and small economies are not easily sustainable and often lead to a deficit for the weaker partners”.

“The creation of a free trade zone with the EU is totally inappropriate for the agricultural sector given the enormous differences between the ACPs and the EU in productivity and competitively, differences which are amplified by the considerable public support from which European agriculture benefits in accordance with EPA 07,”

If the ACP countries sign the EPA document, a lot of problems will occur including unfair competition with EU states in trade. It has been noted how competition from imported EU milk powder and dairy imports threatened 600,000 small-scale dairy farmers in Kenya.

This threat was successfully overcome because the government was able to raise tariffs from 35% to 60% to protect these livelihoods. Africa needs tariffs and the ability to raise and lower them to protect food security crops and infant industries - just like many EU countries did in the past when they were developing.

"I come from a small fishing village in Ghana. Members of my family fished for their livelihood, but fishing has become impossible since larger European fishing vessels came and fished our seas empty. The same happened with poultry. EU imports of frozen chicken wings destroyed the local market…EPAs are free trade agreements, and as such, they will bring poverty to Africa." Tetteh Hormeku, Third World Network, Ghana

“If Africa will sign the agreement, then Africa will be wiped out of development,”
Peter Agoa, EcoNews Africa, Kenya.

People used to export products like copra, fish, and kava to European countries, but this has gradually been phased out due to restrictive rules of origin, technical and other barriers established by the European Union. We have no capacity to address these problems.

Grant Percival, President, Samoa’s Association of Manufacturers and Exporters, says that the EPA will change the way we collect revenue. By eliminating tariff revenue and creating consumer taxes, governments will pass the tax burden on to the poor, creating social inequity.

Internet workshop on the second day

What we were doing on the second today

Today, which is the third day of Internet workshop for journalists, we continued with yesterday’s topic of blogging.

We also touched on internet as a tool in journalism whereby we discussed that the main function of Internet to journalists is to act as a source of information ie, background information and facts.

Furthermore we found out that web pages have been increasing hence allow users to have a wider spectrum of finding information. It is said that in 2004, there were 13 billion web pages.

In July 2008 however, Google announced to have discovered 1 trillion web pages. Also when finding information, the most important aspect is to think about what you are looking for before going to the Internet.

It is important to note exactly what type of information, commentary or data will help build up the story and what is the exact fact that you are looking for.

You can therefore decide about the information if you can find it from one of the websites that you already know the address or by using search engines like Google, Yahoo etc.

We also touched on search engines. These have several functions namely crawling, storing and indexing. The usefulness of a search engine depends on the relevance of the information it gives.

The Internet: a source of change for societies

Name: Timothy Kitundu: Why I joined the Internet workshop

The Internet: a source of change for societies
As a senior journalist and head of the business desk in my media house – The Express, I felt that it could be more beneficial for me to have more skills in Internet use so that researching of stories and processing them could be easier.

More urgently, I needed to undertake this training because the skills that I may acquire could help me to send stories when I am working away from my media house, in some instances I attend meetings, workshops and conferences out of the country.

The other reason why I joined this workshop is that as a media practitioner, I need information which most of it is in the Internet and because I need to prepare stories that have correct facts and with up to date statistics, up to date ones, the only way is to be well equipped with the Internet skills.

On the first day of the workshop I did a number of topics namely; how the Internet has changed societies and communication globally meaning that the society can use the Internet in banking, finding and ordering books and bookings for transport modes and football matches.

The other aspect that I studies was journalism in the age of Internet which among others, I was able to know the population of Internet users in the world, Africa and East Africa. I also leant about the web pages used and world wide Webb (www) vs. Internet.

During the workshop, I have come to develop new ideas meaning that as a journalist, I cannot do my work properly if I cannot access the Internet. I have come also to develop an idea that Internet is a very important tool for doing researches that may be educative to the society.

After the workshop, I wish to cover some topics, which are why Tanzania has a few Internet users and why other countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa have millions of Internet users.

In the future, after the workshop, I would like to do an investigative study to find out the disadvantages of having few Internet users and what are the economic impacts in the case of having few Internet users in certain country.