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Pope Francis To Journalists: Listen, Investigate and Report

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Pope Francis has counseled journalists to purse good journalism by chasing the story in the field and avoid arm-chair reporting.

“This is why I encourage you to preserve and cultivate that sense of mission that is at the origin of your choice. And I will do so with three verbs that I believe characterise good journalism: listen, investigate and report,” the Pope said while addressing journalists during a ceremony to award distinguished journalists in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace on Saturday November 13.

The Pope asked journalists, “How many shared experiences, how many journeys, how many events you have experienced first-hand, recounting them to your viewers and readers?”

The Pontiff explained that Journalism does not come about by choosing a profession, but by embarking on a mission, a little like a doctor, who studies and works so that the evil in the world may be healed.

“Your mission is to explain the world, to make it less obscure, to make those who live in it less afraid of it and look at others with greater awareness, and also with more confidence. It is not an easy mission. It is complicated to think, to meditate, to study more deeply, to stop and collect ideas and to study the contexts and precedents of a piece of news,” Pope Francis said.

The risk, as you well know, is to be overwhelmed by the news instead of being able to make sense of it. This is why I encourage you to preserve and cultivate that sense of mission that is at the origin of your choice. And I will do so with three verbs that I believe characterise good journalism: listen, investigate and report.

Listening in Journalism

For a journalist, listening means having the patience to meet face to face with the people to be interviewed, the protagonists of the stories being told, the sources from which to receive news.

Listening always goes hand in hand with seeing, with being present: certain nuances, sensations, and well-rounded descriptions can only be conveyed to readers, listeners and spectators if the journalist has listened and seen for him- or herself.

This means escaping – and I know how difficult this is in your work! – escaping from the tyranny of always being online, on social networks, on the web. The journalism of listening and seeing well requires time.

Not everything can be told through email, the telephone, or a screen. As I recalled in this year’s Message for Communications Day, we need journalists who are willing to “wear out the soles of their shoes”, to get out of the newsroom, to walk around the city, to meet people, to assess the situations in which we live in our time. Listening is the first word that came to my mind.

Investigation in Journalism

At a time when millions of pieces of information are available on the web, and when many people obtain their information and form their opinions on social media, where unfortunately the logic of simplification and opposition sometimes prevails, the most important contribution that good journalism can make is that of in-depth analysis.

Indeed, what more can you offer to those who read or listen to you than what they already find on the web? You can offer the context, the precedents, the keys to interpretation that help to collocate the fact that has happened.

Reporting In Journalism

Reporting means not putting oneself in the foreground, nor setting oneself up as a judge, but allowing oneself to be struck and sometimes wounded by the stories we encounter, in order to be able to tell them with humility to our readers. Reality is a great antidote to many “ailments”.

Reality – what happens, the lives and testimonies of people – deserves to be told. I think of the books you write, Valentina, on women who suffer the tyranny of abuse.

Today we are in great need of journalists and communicators who are passionate about reality, capable of finding the treasures often hidden in the folds of our society and recounting them, allowing us to be impressed, to learn, to broaden our minds, to grasp aspects that we did not know before.

I am grateful to you for your effort to recount reality. The diversity of approaches, of style, of points of view linked to different cultures or religious affiliations is also a wealth of information.

Please, remember also that the Church is not a political organisation with left and right-wingers, as is the case in parliaments. At times, unfortunately, our considerations are reduced to this, with some root in reality. But no, the Church is not this.

It is not a large multinational company headed by managers who study at the table how best to sell their product. The Church does not build itself on the basis of its own project, it does not draw from itself the strength to move forward and it does not live by marketing strategies.

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President Kagame Opens AU Civil Aviation Plenary

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President Paul Kagame has just opened the 33rd Plenary session of the African Civil Aviation Commission convened at Kigali Convention Centre.

The gathering attended by delegates from the 55 African Union member states kicked off Wednesday and will conclude on December 3rd with recommendations.

The devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic forced to ground most of the continent’s airlines but customers have turned to private aviation to fill the gaps.

However, there are many challenges to private aviation companies in Africa. Permit sourcing, money movement, maintenance resources, sourcing reliable and current information, access to reliable ground handling, services and catering and fuel price instability can cause issues for clients when traveling. These and more are some of the issues expected to be tackled during this gathering.

After the progress made in the last 12 months, it’s important that companies in Africa have a plan to maintain momentum to ensure the industry reaches its full potential post-pandemic.

In Africa the pandemic has had a positive effect on business aviation as governments, legislators, regulators, the business community, and even the commercial airlines have realized the real value and benefits of business aviation in terms of efficiency, convenience, and flexibility.

Throughout the ongoing pandemic business aviation in Africa has supported cargo flights, medevacs, repatriations, diplomatic flights, as well as moving crew and technical teams around, and more recently reintroduced international business flights.

Business aviation is a small but essential transport pillar in Africa, supporting a basic level of mobility and stability.

African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) is a specialized agency of the African Union responsible for Civil Aviation matters in Africa.

With its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal AFCAC’s purpose is to develop and regulate civil aviation in Africa.

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EAC ‘Tembea Nyumbani’ Campaign to Stimulate intra-regional Travel

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Tembea Nyumbani’, is a new campaign deal propped up by the East African Community aimed at promoting national and regional tourism products and services.

The campaign is set to run for three weeks, from 1st December, 2021. It is part of implementation of the EAC Tourism Marketing Strategy and EAC Recovery Plan supported by German Development Agency, GIZ.

According to architects of this campaign, it seeks to entice East Africans to travel in their specific countries and around the region, in an effort to revive domestic and regional tourism across the region, amid the pandemic.

EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki has urged tourism private sector players to extend affordable packages to East Africans so as to entice them into taking advantage of the holiday offers available during the upcoming festive season.

“With preferential entry fees and rates now extended to EAC citizens, it is timely for East Africans to explore the diverse cultures, take on adventure safaris and visit exotic beaches among other opportunities the region has to offer,” he said.

Tourism contributes significantly to the economies of EAC Partner States and pre-pandemic, contributed 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 17% export earnings and 7% in jobs creation.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the sector affected negatively with international tourism arrivals in East Africa dropping by about 67.7%, to an estimated 2.25 million arrivals in 2020 compared to 6.98 million in 2019.

The Tembea Nyumbani campaign is being undertaken by the EAC in collaboration with the East African Tourism Platform that represents the tourism businesses across the region.

Through the campaign, hoteliers and other tourism service providers are being encouraged to promote affordable packages to the EAC citizens.

Jean Baptiste Havugimana EAC Director in charge of Productive Sectors said, “The Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management during their Extra-ordinary meeting held on 15th July 2021 recommended that the Secretariat to convene a multisectoral meeting comprising key sectors such as Tourism and Wildlife, Immigration and Security to develop a framework for introduction of the Single Tourist Visa by all the Partner States.”

Havugimana noted that the meeting will be convened early 2022, adding that once fully adopted the Visa will ease travel by foreign tourists across the entire region.

Simon Kiarie EAC Principal Tourism Officer noted that the region will be able to receive about 4 million tourists in 2022, “The tourism sector’s recovery has been on an upward trajectory and we expect that by the year 2024, we will receive about 7 million tourists compared to 2.25 million tourists recorded in 2020.“

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S. Sudan Senior Officials In Rwanda For Post-conflict Peacebuilding Course

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Senior Government and security officials including Ministers, Senior military officials (Maj Gen – Lt Gen), Members of Parliament and representatives of political parties from the Republic of South Sudan are in Rwanda to participate in the Senior Leadership Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, Reconstruction and Stabilisation Course in Musanze District that will run from 29 Nov to 3rd Dec 21.

The five-day course is run by Rwanda Peace Academy in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC).

During his opening remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta said that this course is an essential component of the process to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation in nations that have been affected by traumatic violence.

“Rwanda and South Sudan share a lot of similarities in their history including a tragic past of violent conflicts but also the capacity to overcome these tragedies and build resilient societies whose communities can live together in peace and prosper for the generations to come. In Rwanda, reconciliation and peacebuilding processes have played a crucial role in resolving political and perceived ethnic differences.” said Dr Biruta.

In his statement, the South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro said that this course means a lot to them as they are implementing an agreement which requires that they stabilize their country in terms of achieving sustainable peace, reconstruction and institutional development.

“We think that the work done by Rwandans to achieve what you have achieved in terms of peace, community integration and institutional building, is what we need; and we think that Rwanda being a close country to us is better example for us to learn from than to be anywhere else,” said Minister Lomuro.

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