At his final year at IFASIC – the main Journalism School in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Jean Sotsha, a member of the local JHR student chapter, is making a difference at the national newspaper Le Potentiel. Since his internship started in March 2015, Jean managed to show his skills in the newsroom. “JHR helped me during the production of stories. Thanks to this experience, I could go work from the field, contact people, interview them in a professional manner”, he says with pride in front of his peer interns.
Strong of the JHR training he had received, Jean wanted to focus on human rights reporting despite the challenges that his colleagues at newsrooms often face in covering them in the DRC. “JHR equipped us with the right tools to cover human rights issues. This is why I made an effort to show to the journalists, the senior editors and the owner of the paper that it is possible to cover them without fear of retaliation”, he explains with conviction.
That proved to be a winning bet: Jean pitched several stories, and some ended up being published. An example is his story on street kids wandering in Kinshasa. It was published on April 22 under the title “Supporting street kids in Kinshasa: action needed from City Hallʺ, describing the raising phenomenon of abandoned children in the DRC.
After the story was published, Jean became the most productive and committed intern at the newsroom. “Several journalists and senior managers at Le Potentiel keep praising my stories and my work”, he says with joy.
Thanks to his performance during the internship, Jean was the only journalism student that got to interview the President of the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audio-visuel et de la Communication, the Congolese media regulatory body on the last World Press Freedom Day.
The time spent at the newspaper has proved to be very valuable for Jean, encouraging him to improve his skills, and to focus
on human rights media production. “JHR’s work is key to help promote a culture of professional reporting on human rights issues here in the DRC. I will do my best to help that happen”, concluded Jean.