The AFP Foundation’s main aim is to train journalists from developing nations on covering major events and economic and social change in their countries.
Over one hundred and fifty days of training were provided in 2011, notably to the Tunisian national press agency, the leading Ugandan daily newspaper and to sports editors from some twenty African countries.
In autumn 2011, Tunisian voters elected a national assembly charged with drafting the country’s new constitution. To prepare itself to deliver effective and ethical coverage of the first democratic elections since the fall of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) agency enlisted the help of the AFP Foundation. Over 3 five-day courses, three journalists from Agence France-Presse provided training on written press working methods (in Arabic and in French) and on photojournalism. Training was financed by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (International Francophone Organisation).
Since it was founded in 2007, the Foundation has provided almost forty training programmes to more than one thousand, two hundred journalists from around the world. Beneficiaries of this training are in turn invited to become trainers, to pass their knowledge on to their colleagues and to trainee journalists.
In 2011, no fewer than one hundred and sixty nine days of training were provided. One of the Foundation’s major programmes concerned training to cover the Women’s Football World Cup, which took place in Germany between the 26th of June and the 17th of July. Before the competition began, around one hundred female sports journalists from twenty-one African countries took part in training, which was organised in partnership with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).
The Foundation also works towards developing awareness among journalists of structural problems faced by their own countries, such as the fight against poverty, access to employment, illiteracy, environmental protection, etc. In partnership with the United Nations, the Chirac Foundation and the French Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, the Foundation is currently working on a large-scale project in Lebanon to educate the media on covering these development issues.
In December 2011, in the third part of their training programme, Lebanese press and TV journalists took part in exercises to put training in news gathering and reporting into practice. They interviewed fishermen and local elected officials in Jiyé, which is 30 km south of Beirut, to assess the changing environmental situation on this part of the Lebanese coast, following the environmental disaster that took place in 2006, when 15,000 tonnes of oil were spilled into the sea.
The Foundation also provides training in online journalism and multimedia, in order to help the media meet the new technological and financial challenges posed by the growth of the internet and mobile phone use/ mobile internet. In September 2011, staff from New Vision, a Ugandan daily newspaper and its press, radio and TV subsidiaries were given training to help them prepare for the launch of their new website.
In addition to training provision, the Foundation is also involved in initiatives to promote a free, independent and responsible press. Last October, it donated 25 computers to Reporters without Borders to support journalists in difficulty, based either in their home countries or in exile.