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A Citizen Reporter Without an Identity
Bala Muhammad Makosa suggests OhmyNews ID cards would aid in reporting
Bala Muhammad Makosa (babanjawad)     Print Article 
Published 2009-01-16 11:45 (KST)   
I think I discussed this issue in the early months of the year 2006, when I first joined OhmyNews International. I explained that the best way for a citizen reporter to get proper recognition in any part of this world is by having an OhmyNews International citizen reporter ID.

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The issue of identification cards is one of the important points I would have raised in the year 2007, when I was invited to attend the International Citizen Reporters' Forum in Seoul. Unfortunately, my dream of going to Seoul was crushed at Nmandi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja (the Nigerian capital city) when it was finally observed by the officials of Lufthansa Airways that I did not have a transit visa through Frankfurt. I didn't know I needed one.

Meanwhile, Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa with over 150 million people. And again, is one of the countries where journalists are in abundance, especially Kano ancient city where I live. It is a commercial city in northern Nigeria and the most populated state in the whole country.

In city of Kano there are over 500 working journalists representing different media across the nation, including foreign media. Some of the working journalists are representing other media in addition to their journalism day jobs -- myself included. For that reason, we need to carry with us identification for our other freelance journalism jobs.

It is sad that OhmyNews International has missed many important stories from Kano and other states very close to Kano, due to my lack of ID, especially for OhmyNews International. Sometimes when an event should be covered globally and I presented myself as a citizen reporter, I was denied access to such vital stories due to lack of identification from said organization. While in many instances, I felt shy and disappointed when I present myself as a citizen reporter -- some even called me a "citizen reporter without identity."

In my opinion, OhmyNews International has made its reputation in citizen journalism due to the able contributions of its tireless contributors across the globe. But I am confident that most of the reporters who are contributing to this most populous citizen reporting site agree with me on the issue of identity cards -- even though probably some have never raised the issue.

I suggest that the time has come when OhmyNews International should look into this matter and provide special identification for its team of citizen reporters across the globe, or at least provide IDs to those like me who cannot represent OhmyNews effectively in their home countries without identification cards.


©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bala Muhammad Makosa

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