Africa Press International (API) has launched an international campaign on the international crowd funding website: GoFundMe. The campaign’s goal is to raise €148,000 ($185,000) in order to provide protective equipments, communications gadgets and training guides to African Journalists in the three most Ebola affected countries in Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea). The campaign is master minded by Founder/Executive Director of Africa Press International (API) Larry Bate Takang, who is also a Journalist, former broadcaster and author. He believes that Journalists in Ebola affected countries need safety equipments to basically stay alive. Journalists, he points out, have been known to sacrifice their lives for the masses. At times they have been braver than soldiers in facing dangers. That is why; he is calling on the world to use this occasion to give back to Journalists.
Eight African Journalists have died already from Ebola related incidences. Many are seriously afraid to venture into the field to report on the level and impact of the crisis without proper protection. International Journalists are also extremely afraid to travel in to infected countries. They mostly report from neighboring countries without first-hand information on what is actually going on. As a result the crisis so far is being massively under-reported. Because of this, the understanding of what is actually happening on the ground is limited. This is actually affecting the process of seeking solutions.
Many voices now see that this is a very big problem. The World Health Organization (WHO), assistant director-general Dr. Bruce Aylward is one of those. He has indicated that the West African Ebola Rate is being under-reported. He added that, the reported caseloads in the three most-affected countries Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, inevitably under represent the actual number of infections.
Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, a pediatrician in Santa Rosa, California is also disappointed with the U.S. media’s coverage of the Ebola epidemic. She points out that the media reports on numbers dead, but not on what the needs of the people really affected are…or how the outbreak started.
It is true that most reports on the outbreak are simply about the number of people who have died. But many things are happening on the ground. For example, there are thousands of orphans left behind; there is serious danger of long-term psychological harm on children due to their traumatic experience and fear of Ebola… There are thousands of families destroyed, separated, stigmatized… and businesses that have been ruined. Economies have collapsed; schools have closed, and children can no longer get education. No one is really reporting and writing on these extremely negative effects for posterity.
The fact is, we are in the midst of the worst Ebola outbreak in history, and yet all we hear is the total number of people, who have died.
But local Journalists are in a far better position to report and record all what is happening for us all. They are already on the ground. It is their countries. They know the stories of survival and bravery, the stories of orphans left by parents; the feeling, the emotions, the sufferings, the pain felt by little children without parents; the pinch of completely collapsed economies; the real smell of death; and lives of hopelessness. Who else can tell a better story than the people living the nightmare? They can better help sensitize the population; provide necessary details, and heart touching human stories of misery, survival, bravery and sacrifice…but they have a problem. Their lives are at great risk.
These local Journalists lack simple protective equipments that the international media has, but cannot effectively do the job.
All they need now is protective equipments, training guides and communication tools. Without Protection and better gadgets, no one is willing to dare out. Journalists are humans too.
They must minimize the risk, in order to better record the effects of Ebola in such a way that we and our children, and our children’s children will have something to read about and understand for posterity. Ebola is not just about the number of people who have died. It is more.
That is why Africa Press International (API) is asking for your donations to help raise €148,000 ($185,000) to provide protective equipments, communications gadgets and training guides to Journalists in the three main countries affected (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea).
Equipments will involve, face masks, plastic overalls, sterilized gloves, boots, chlorine, communication gadgets, training manuals, Eye protection gadgets etc
Please kindly donate today. Pass this word around.
Basic equipments can cut stress of “scary assignment” David McKenzie (CNN)
“Reporting about Ebola can be a very emotional and scary reporting trip” David McKenzie (CNN)
References: Reporting on Ebola
1) Journalist dies of Ebola in Sierra Leone http://www.tvcnews.tv/?q=article/journalist-dies-ebola-sierra-leone
2) Reporters struggle to stay safe covering Ebola by Judith Matloff
3) American photographer Pete Muller for The Washington Post. http://youtu.be/C5rHLXyFckA