Anadolu Agency has gathered international journalists for a training which arms them with skills to avoid danger while reporting under emergency situations.
Some 23 reporters came together in the capital Ankara for the 17th term of war journalism course.
Under the supervision of the agency’s News Academy and in collaboration with the Turkish Police Academy, Turkish Armed Forces, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the journalists from across 15 countries are getting theoretical and practical courses on how to survive in crises and under extraordinary conditions.
The 12-day-long course — which started on Sept. 23. — is providing training to reporters from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Croatia, Syria, Colombia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Algeria, Palestine, Jordan, the Philippines and Pakistan.
During the first week of program, the participants received theoretical knowledge about the law of war, Middle East geopolitics, survival during chemical and biological attacks, asylum seekers and refugees camps, information technology security, and Turkey’s fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt.
They were also taught first aid, close defense, use of gas masks, surviving in water and advance driving techniques.
The trainees also experienced public events and demonstration stimulations, and grenade smoke, tear gas and water canon at the Police Academy.
Over two dozen separate lessons are scheduled to be taught by expert academics and professional security personnel within the scope of program.
Those who successfully complete the program will be awarded with internationally recognized certificates.
Feedback from ground
Participants shared their stories of survival in a lake in Ankara with Anadolu Agency.
Daniel Salgar, who joined the course from Colombia, said it was a “really interesting experience” for him.
Silabet Manaye, who is a television and radio producer in Ethiopia, said that it was his first swimming experience.
Manaye said that he panicked at first in water, but then “relaxed and started swimming”.
Jasmina Grbavec, a 26-year-old news producer on television, who joined the training from Croatia’s capital Zagreb, said that her expectations were to learn how to focus and stay calm while “rescuing colleagues on the ground”.
“It was amazing and it is not so hard. Okay, we are wet but we survived,” she added.
She also stressed the importance of sticking together as a group while in water in order to stay warm.
Lilia Alelishvili, 29, who came from Georgia, said that she is very happy with the training program.
“It is so dangerous for me because I can’t swim, but it is so interesting and it is so good,” she said.
A senior police officer who was instructing the trainees told Anadolu Agency that survival in water is a team work and that it is very important not to panic.
“There are two main dangers in water — hypothermia and drowning,” he said on condition of anonymity.
He said some trainees swam in open water for the first time and suffered initial symptoms of hypothermia and they began to shiver.
Advanced driving techniques
Turkish traffic police officers also instructed the participants on advance driving techniques and vehicular safety.
Timothy Olanrewaju, 51, a senior war reporter from Nigeria, told Anadolu Agency that the driving techniques have been “very impactful” for him as he covers the northeast region of his country which suffers frequent Boko Haram attacks.
“It is a life time experience and I am going to share it with my colleagues back home,” he said.
Zoraiz Bangash, a journalist from Pakistan, said that the training provided hands-on skills and he will return home much better equipped.
“I’m very happy to be here and learning so much from Turkey.”
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