BBG held a 2.5-day seminar in partnership with the Ilia State University, Tavisupleba Media School, Georgia National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, and Ministry of Internal Affairs/Department of Emergency Management.
Thirty-four journalists, journalism educators and public relations and communication officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs/Department of Emergency Management and National Center for Disease Control participated in the BBG Seminar on Avian Influenza, Other Pandemic Diseases and Disaster Preparedness at the Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia.
The seminar participants represented major and regional print, radio, television, and online media organizations and public communication offices from across Georgia, including Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Gori, Khashuri, Batumi, and Telavi.
The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, and Press Attache Jeremy Richart made opening remarks and greeted the seminar participants. The training sessions were led and facilitated by Inna Dubinsky and Dan Rutz, Health Communication Specialist, Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Fatima Tlisova, Webpage Editor at VOA’s Russian Service, representatives from Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs/Department of Emergency Management; Vakhtang Gloveli, Head of Information and Programming Service at Emergency Management Department, and Tamara Mamatelashvili, Coordinator of Regional Journalists and Relations at Public Relations Headquarters of Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ana Kasradze, Epidemiologist at Georgia National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, Dr. Tina Tsomaia, Deputy Dean of Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management; Marina Vashakmadze, Director of RFE/RL Georgian Bureau and Head of Tavisupleba Media School in Tbilisi, and Prof. Oleg Panfilov.
Journalists also practiced new skills and knowledge in case studies of health, disaster and emergency response reporting, group role play on how to cover a mock scenario disaster, and writing individual reports on issues that were discussed during the seminar that they felt strongly about. For instance, Lali Khabulava from TV Radio Company LTV in Kutaisi wrote and posted to the new community Facebook page “Journalists for Public Health in Georgia,” a commentary on the fresh water shortage in her town during flooding and what the local community expects of authorities to address this problem.
This workshop was a part of the “Training for Journalists & Journalism Educators on Disaster Preparedness & Avian Influenza:” Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Afghanistan (in Dubai, UAE), and Georgia,” March–July 2013, funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans, International Environment, and Scientific Affairs.