Safe Sister Cecilia Maundu is a Kenyan journalist, teacher of journalism, gender specialist, and digital security trainer. Cecilia shared with us these updates from the 2019 Internet Freedom Forum where she hosted a session with Localization Lab.

It was quite interesting. My most notable thing was that, terms used in technology especially in this part of the world were still complex, hence journalists have to go an extra mile in breaking down the concepts in ways that their audience will understand which is not easy. And how the information is packaged is very critical because if it is too technical it can make audience shy away from it terming it too “ technical”.

We had about 20 people mostly journalists.

TITLE OF SESSION

Bridging the gap: Strategies for reporting on the internet and tech.

GOAL OF SESSION

Improvement of collaboration strategies in equipping journalists and the media on how to better talk about and write about issues involving the internet and digital rights.

SESSION DESCRIPTION

The media’s primary mandate is to inform and educate the citizen. This includes informing and educating the citizen about the ever dynamic world of tech, internet and digital rights. However, this is not always possible. Journalists who come from countries where the mother tongue is not English but rather Shona, Swahili, French, Portuguese, Zulu, Yoruba, to name a few, tend to have greater challenges in fulfilling their mandate because;

  1. In some of these countries, there are no immediately recognisable terms for Internet, Wi-Fi, encrypt, network, mobile app, browser, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
  2. The journalists/ media themselves do not understand the tech terms that keep cropping up at the speed of light.
  3. The media has to have an above average level of understanding of what they seek to inform the masses on, and in many instances, this is not the case.

How then can the media and the journalists based in these countries be trusted to best inform the masses and how can they provide a simplified and easy to understand version of tech terms?