Sweden's Institute for Further Education of Journalists (Fojo Media Institute) has been providing mid-career training for Vietnamese journalists since 1998 in cooperation with Vietnam's Ministry of Culture and Information (MoCI). Since the start of activities, Fojo has trained approximately 1,400 Vietnamese print, radio, and television journalists and editors and has built up a pool of Swedish trainers with experience in working in Vietnam. The overall objectives of this work include:
- promoting democracy through a more open, independent, and self-reliant media;
- building high-quality journalism characterised by professionalism, integrity, and interaction with the audience; and
- promoting openness and democracy of media through improved capacity of Vietnamese journalists.
At the centre of this initiative is a cluster programme of courses/activities involving major media outlets working in print, radio, television, and the internet. Goals include: improving professional management, newsroom routines, and cooperation; enhancing journalistic skills of staff; and creating role models for Vietnamese media houses. The programme begins with trainer workshops in Vietnam and Sweden and involves in-house courses, an ethics tour (featuring 2-day seminars on journalist ethics), and various follow-up seminars. Other courses offered have included basic short courses for newspaper reporters, as well as a 2-week local radio workshop designed to provide reporters/editors with live broadcasting skills, improve interview techniques and other journalistic skills, and increase interaction with, and amplifying the voices of, grassroots people.
Fojo is working to build the capacity of Vietnam's Project Management Board (PMB) through study visits to places like Fojo and the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) in order to accomplish such objectives as: enhancing PMB administration capacity; strengthening networking and communication between the PMB and Fojo administration and trainers; acquainting the PMB with new course formats, content development methods, and training methods; exchanging experience on training concepts and methods; initiating networking between journalist training programmes in places Fojo works; and investigating the possibility of establishing mid-career journalist training network in Asia.
To cite another example of a project activity: A one-day conference on ethical codes involving the MoCI, Viet Nam Journalists' Association (VJA), media house management, and media training departments was held to discuss and analyse Vietnamese media ethics and to propose a draft self-regulatory code of media ethics in Vietnam.
The project has also launched a nationwide layout contest open to all Vietnamese newspapers and magazines and to individual designers working in Vietnam. Objectives include professionalising, modernising, and standardising the design work of newspaper and magazines in Vietnam, as well as facilitating professional exchange between Vietnamese designers. Outputs were expected to include a book of "the best" layout newspapers and magazines, "golden rules of layout design" introduced through 2 workshops, and an exhibition of the winning layout.
Media Development, Democracy and Governance.
According to Fojo, Vietnam has about 700 newspapers and periodicals published by 450 press organisations, all of which belong to the State or the Party. There are no private media. There is one national radio station (the Voice of Vietnam), one national Vietnamese TV channel, 61 provincial radio and TV stations, and 4 regional TV stations. The country has some 7,800 journalists, around 30% of whom are women. Many journalists, perhaps a majority, need technical upgrading and general professional retraining.