Fojo supports the development of free, professional and independent media in Belarus through a wide range of courses and activities. Fojo has worked in Belarus since 1997 and more than 2000 Belarusian journalists have taken part in Fojo's training activities. Presently Fojo has two local partners in Belarus: the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and the Institute of Journalism at the Belarusian State University (BGU).
The few independent media in Belarus that still exist under the totalitarian regime, work under harsh conditions. Fojo is one of few international organizations allowed to work with media development inside Belarus.
The ongoing programme “Supporting Independent Media in Belarus” offers a wide range of courses. The project offers courses focusing on topics such as political reporting, on-line journalism, economic reporting, photojournalism and much more. Fojo also provides special training for journalists who aim to become professional media trainers (training of trainers).As a part of the exchange with BGU, Belarusian student journalists are invited to Sweden to study the role of news media in a functioning democracy.
Fojo's role is to:
- Support the development of free, professional and independent media in Belarus.
- Capacitate the Belarusian Association of Journalists in their work to promote quality journalism and ethical standards among Belarusian journalists.
- Provide students and teachers at the Institute of Journalism (Belarusian State University) with international references and facilitate modernization of the curricula of the institute.
- Introduce the concept of media literacy (critical media analysis) among students and university teachers in Belarus.The concept of media literacy was previously unknown in Belarus, but has been piloted as a new subject in a number of public schools in Minsk, thanks to the programme. Media literacy is often described as the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and produce communication in a variety of forms. Raised awareness about how media functions and operates, as well as developed critical thinking and skills to diversify sources of information, are important steps in a process towards a more democratic Belarusian society.
Fojo's programme in Belarus is financed by The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).