9 January 2015 - Investigative journalism and responsible reporting on the part of young journalists was the focus of a recent UNODC-supported workshop held in South Asia. Covering issues such as human trafficking, migration and illicit drug activities in the region, the programme brought together a number of journalists aged 21-30 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan using a combination of online discussions and in-person training.
The programme, entitled ' Roadblocks along the new Silk Road: A multimedia training programme to tell the stories of youth, women and migration in South Asia', was organized through a partnership between UNODC and the US-based International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). The workshop forms part of a wider project which, since being launched in 2013, has helped develop a range of articles. These have included the story ' Nightmare journey to Malaysia: One man's journey across one of the deadliest stretches of water' which recounted how hundreds of labourers from Bangladesh died crossing the Bay of Bengal as victims of human trafficking, and the piece ' Increasing opium use rips the social fabric in Chitral', chronicling the plight of women addicted to drugs in a remote mountainous region in Pakistan.
Explaining the benefit of the partnership with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Lucinda Fleeson, training director at ICFJ, notes: "Because of the involvement of UNODC, the young journalists have had access to high-level experts they normally would not have. They also got the latest statistics, and could refer to tools and publications developed by UNODC." Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative in South Asia, meanwhile notes the importance of the media in the work of the organization: "Journalists are key stakeholders who analyse and investigate issues and in turn project them to the wider public. It is critical for UNODC to engage with the media and journalists so they can use the best facts and figures to substantiate their stories about drug use, the spread of HIV, drug trafficking, human trafficking, corruption and terrorism."
The International Center for Journalists has worked over the past 30 years on advancing quality journalism worldwide, and has worked with more than 80,000 professional and citizen journalists and media managers from 180 countries. UNODC in South Asia works in six countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and assists States in developing strategies to address crime, drugs and corruption, with particular emphasis on assisting vulnerable groups.