11 April 2011 - A five-day intensive training workshop for 10 camera crew from South Sudan Television (SSTV) concluded today at the UNMIS compound in Juba.
The training was organized by the mission’s Public Information Office to teach the crew basic camera operation, parts of professional cameras, visual picture composition, basic camera maintenance and visual story development.
The closing ceremony was attended by SSTV Director Francis Duku and Principal Civil Affairs Officer Sylvia Fletcher, who was representing UNMIS Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan David Gressly.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Duku said the training had come at the right time, with Southern Sudan about to become a new nation.
“We are entering into a new era in the history of South Sudan,” he said. “This training will help us not only during the coverage of independence day on the 9 July this year, but beyond.”
Mr. Duku noted that SSTV had failed to find other means of training its staff.
“I have contacted many organizations to provide training to my staff, but they refused, saying that it is very expensive to conduct training on video,” the director said. “But I wonder why UNMIS’ small video unit is able to provide us with such huge support.”
The station, which opened its doors in 2005, is operating as the region’s only television broadcaster. Set to become the national television for Southern Sudan after independence, the quality of its programs is paramount.
“We are a young station, but we are trying our best to do what we are expected to give to our viewers with what we have,” Mr. Duku said.
Participants of the workshop agreed that they had gained much from the five-day session.
“We were using the camera but there are some things within the camera that we didn’t know,” said participant Samuel Laki. “With what we have learnt here … our work will speak for us,” he said, adding that UNMIS should extend such training to other states of Southern Sudan.
UNMIS Officer Fletcher urged the trainees to used the knowledge they had acquired to better inform the people of Southern Sudan.
“What you see and project is what the public see, and what you see and convey is the basis for public understanding,” said Ms. Fletcher. “You have heard that a picture speaks more than a thousand words, so if that is true, you are one thousand times more than a written text.”
She added that conveying a message from a visual site was powerful. “A camera person will select what the public sees, so you have a very big responsibility.”
During the workshop, participants produced four stories covering traffic in Juba, farming in the suburb of Gumbo, the market situation and Juba Teaching Hospital.
The training was part of UNMIS’ support for SSTV in improving the quality of its reporting and providing staff with hand-on professional skills, so that the station can better inform its viewers. The mission had earlier provided equipment to the station for election coverage, and had also been sending it input from different parts of the country.
“UNMIS have been providing us with programmes from states that we have no access to,” Ms. Duku said. “We have been showing these programmes on the TV and they are much appreciated by our audience.”