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My Spirit Is in Seoul
Enhancing citizen journalism in the African continent
Bala Muhammad Makosa (babanjawad)     Print Article 
Published 2007-06-29 11:20 (KST)   
In April, I received an e-mail from Jean K. Min of OhmyNews inviting me to attend the third OhmyNews International Citizens Reporters' Forum in Seoul, South Korea. I excitedly began to prepare for the forum, hoping to ensure that I could enhance the coverage of citizen journalism globally, especially in the African continent.

Unfortunately, God in His wonders willed that I should not go to Seoul this year. After arranging to attend, I was kept from reaching my destination for lack of a German transit visa. It was a great blow to me but, God willing, I hope to be in Seoul for next year's forum. Nevertheless, I have some points to share with my fellow citizen reporters participating in the forum.

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How I wish I could have attended the forum! I suggest that in order to push OhmyNews forward to global recognition management needs to introduce identification cards for its citizen reporters across the globe, and especially in places like Nigeria, where recognition is given to all members of the press who introduce themselves not verbally, but with an identification card. Any media organization that issues identification cards to its permanent freelancers will receive due recognition. As the forum ends, I hope my fellow citizen reporters will strive to make this a reality.

Had I been able to attend the forum, I would have made a presentation on the need to enhance greater participation in the field of citizen reporting globally, giving attention to African countries by organizing lectures, forums and symposiums in African areas, especially in Nigeria, the mother of Africa. Citizen journalism should be introduced to Nigerian journalists, students and others. If organized presentations were conducted here and elsewhere, I am confident that OhmyNews would emerge foremost in that field globally.

Had I been able to attend the forum, I would also have expressed dismay that the forum had not given due priority to the African continent. The seeds of citizen journalism need to be planted in Nigeria so that it can spread everywhere within the continent, as Nigeria is the heart of Africa.

These comments are not all what I planned to deliver during the forum, but they are foremost in my mind. It is my wish that the forum not end without endorsing Nigeria, where citizen journalism will be planted with all effort and determination.

I invite OhmyNews officials and members to come to Nigeria and meet the journalists and journalism students so they can advance citizen journalism more effectively in the continent. Only then will citizen reporting receive the recognition it deserves in Africa. Chew my humble presentation and digest it positively.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bala Muhammad Makosa

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