The Guinean TV journalist is a participant in the "African Stories" long-term project which offers African journalists additional skills and tools for turning unusual stories into fascinating features.
Ibrahima Keita is a "homme de terrain" - a journalist who doesn't like getting stuck in the office but instead goes out to provinces a thousand miles away to research unusual stories. At the Guinean state broadcaster RTG (Radio Télévision Guinéenne) Keita hosts programs - including his own - and is responsible for features. He has taken part in five DW Akademie "African Stories" workshops since 2011. In addition to working for RTG, Keita is also active in the Guinean journalists' union where he shares what he's learned at the trainings.
How do you see the situation for journalists in Guinea?
Ibrahima Keita: Journalists in Guinea play an important role and with balanced reporting can contribute to steadying Guinea's unstable political environment. A priority is to sensitize the politicians to so that things are not further derailed. Overall, I'm pleased with Guinea's media sector - we currently have about 30 radio stations, six private and public TV stations, and 100 registered print media.
How dangerous is it for journalists in Guinea?
Guinea's laws guarantee press freedom - to an extent that at times you feel journalists are exaggerating their reports. A while back the press were being muffled but things have changed. At the state level, for example, there's been an agreement not to penalize reporting so that journalism, unlike in other countries, is no longer a dangerous profession. There are currently no journalists in prison.
Describe the film that you produced as part of the "African Stories" project.
The film looks at the revival of banana cultivation here. From the time of colonization until 1963 Guinea was the world's largest banana exporter. That then changed dramatically but some farmers have now got together to revive the business and have formed a cooperative. A bank in the area has agreed to give them a loan. I was impressed by the farmers in Samaya, by their determination to harvest 10,000 bananas a year.
What did you gain personally from DW Akadamie's trainings?
I've changed as a journalist because of these workshops. I now approach filming, scripting and editing differently. Since the project's first phase project in Dakar I've learned that dynamic images and interviews convey much more information. And I've improved the way I write as a journalist, that scripts are there to enhance shots instead of describing them.
Have the DW Akademie workshops also benefited your employer, RTG?
Yes. For one, after each DW Akademie training RTG organizes a "knowledge transfer" session where participants share what they've learned with other RTG journalists, camera operators and editors. They also show the film they produced during the training to underline these new skills.
The co-productions are helping RTG expand its programming and are shown in RTG's new features section. DW Akademie workshop hand-outs and texts are also being used by some of the Guinean university professors who teach journalism.