The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Tom Norring has observed that given the complexity of maritime crimes and the high likelihood for misinformation in the area, which often counters maritime security efforts, the role and capacity of the media in maritime reporting could not be overlooked.
This is because, “It is only through responsible and skilled journalism that we can inspire action, shape public opinion and work towards a safer and a more secure maritime environment”.
The Danish Ambassador, however, conceded that the interventions have mainly focused on support for legal and policy framework, capacity building for maritime law enforcement agencies, as well as support to national interagency and international cooperation to detect, investigate and prosecute maritime crimes.
However, “in this chain of interventions, a crucial stakeholder is usually excluded-the media. Indeed, given the complexity of maritime crimes and high likelihood for misinformation in the area, which often counters maritime security efforts, the role and capacity of the media in maritime reporting cannot and should not be overlooked”.
In view of this, the Denmark Embassy, together with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTEC), he said, has included a maritime reporting course to enhance media practitioner’s capacity in the area of maritime reporting.
The course is to raise awareness about maritime crimes and educate the public about the severity and implications of these crimes, provide accurate and timely maritime reporting to help dispel misconceptions and counter misinformation about maritime crimes and maritime security efforts.
It is also to influence maritime security policy and strategy formulation by collecting and disseminating information about maritime crime trends amongst others.
Opening a five day training course in Takoradi for journalists and stakeholders in the maritime sector, Ambassador Norring expressed the hope that the course will equip journalists with the needed knowledge and skills to actively play their role as media practitioners in the suppression of maritime crimes in this region.
Maj. Gen. Richard Addo Gyane, Commandants of the KAIPTC, on his part, explained the pilot course was the first of the capacity building output of the five-year project on Integrated Responses to Threats to Maritime Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea Maritime (GoG) Domain in West and Central Africa, which is funded by the Government of Denmark.
The project’s goal, according to him, was to create a forum for Gulf of Guinea maritime stakeholders to better comprehend the maritime security landscape, increase collaboration, cooperation and coordination, as well as pool individual and collective resources in efforts to promote maritime security in the GoG.
Major General Addo Gyane noted that the challenges facing the maritime domain in the region were diverse and complex, ranging from piracy and armed robbery at sea to illicit oil bunkering, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, trafficking of drugs, weapons, and humans, smuggling of contraband goods, and various environmental crimes.
“Notwithstanding, our maritime domain has seen an array of interventions at various levels that seek to address these insecurities with the hope of improving maritime security generally,” he added.
Topics to be discussed at the five day training workshop are; Introduction to the Blue Economy and Maritime Security, Policy and Legal Frameworks on Maritime Security, Media and Maritime Security, Information Management in Maritime Security and Law and Ethics in Maritime Security Reporting.
The rest are Coastal Communities and Maritime Security, Gender, Livelihoods and Maritime Security, Collaboration and Cooperation among maritime security stakeholders as well as Scenario Based Exercises, Case Studies and Field visits.
The objective of the course is to enhance the knowledge base and skill sets of media and maritime security professionals to effectively contribute to the attainment of Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).
Also, the course will introduce participants to the nexus between media reportage and maritime security towards a just reporting regime in the littoral states along the GoG.
Again, it is to highlight the diverse roles and practices within the maritime domain and explore synergies between the maritime security stakeholder community on one hand and media practitioners on the other, and within the framework of involving populations in maritime security governance at the community and regional level.
Overall, the MSR course is expected to be used to build the capacity of journalists and media liaisons in maritime state agencies, to contribute to a good understanding of GoG maritime challenges that will then use their medium to support efforts by the state and non-state actors to enhance maritime domain awareness.