International Association of Religion Journalists founding member Prince Charles Dickson shares the wide range of topics discussed at the IARJ conference in Ghana, highlighting the great complexity of covering religion in Africa. From trying to cover religious extremism to trying to balance government involvement in religion, or lack of government interest in religion, the professional challenges are enormous, Dickson argues.
IARJ Co-managing Director and Web Editor Elisa Di Benedetto shares her perspective on this year’s conference in Ghana, including a key insight: While everyone who attended was aware of Africa’s religious diversity, the conference also illustrated a diversity in approaches to journalism by reporters across the continent.
ACCRA, Ghana—The International Association of Religion Journalists is bringing together leading religion journalists and scholars for our July 28-29, 2016, conference “Reporting on Religion and Spirituality in Africa.”
“The world can learn a lot from the experiences and insights of Africans,” said IARJ Executive Director Endy Bayuni.
At their best, faith-based organizations and religious communities have embraced Ebola victims with loving care, heedless of their own safety in treating the suffering and working with public health officials in education and prevention efforts. Still, amid the uncertainty that has gripped governments, world health officials and religious groups alike, responses have been varied over religious rituals such as Muslim and traditional African burial practices encouraging the washing of the dead, Christian practices such as exchanging hugs and handshakes and receiving communion orally and the reliance on traditional healers that provide sources of comfort and hope to believers but also pose public health risks.