The Power of Television

Innovative and creative was the approach an organization called Advocaid used to help educate people about their legal rights in Sierra Leone recently.

They did it by dramatizing issues through a series on local television .

Now, the series called Police Case has been nominated for an Innovating Justice award.

I worked on a story about the series with a local journalist I was training right before it went to air.

On a Saturday afternoon we headed to a local police station to interview production staff of Concept Multimedia. This is the company that shot end edited the series , which centres around a character named Adama, facing a charge of domestic violence. She is arrested and thrown in jail without access to a lawyer.

When the journalist and I arrive the actress, Whitsunnette Wright playing Adama is rehearsing a scene where she sits in a cell venting to other women prisoners about the unfair way police treated her.

The reality of this situation is far too common according to a paralegal who works at Advocaid who we also speak to.

The organization works to help women integrate back into society and has even helped her.

The paralegal prefers to not be identified as it could affect her job at Advocaid. But does add that there is a great need for such a series because so many people, especially women, are violated of their rights when arrested.

In fact, in the past year, Advocaid has helped more than 400 women in Sierra Leone who were denied their legal rights in some way.

She says the most common problem is that women are not informed of the reason for their arrest.

Which was why there was such an urgent need for the series to air.

She is also quick to point out though that Police Case is not meant to shed a negative light on police but rather to educate people about their legal rights.

The winner of the award is set to be announced this November.


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About Nina

Human rights issues have always been a passion of mine. And so has traveling, so it's no surprise that I incorporate that into my professional work. I'm currently working in Freetown, Sierra Leone with Journalists for Human Rights. This isn't my first time with JHR or in Freetown, in 2008 I had the opportunity to go and train local journalists. I worked with them on numerous human rights issues from child poverty to the role of the UN backed Special Court. The international court was set up to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for the country’s civil war. And I am thrilled to be back here to do more work with the local journalists. Prior to my second JHR stint, I worked for CBC in Canada's Northwest Territories. My reporting included Aboriginal issues, environment and politics. I've also filed for World Report, CBC Newsnetwork and The National. I've also reported for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Toronto where I covered major national stories such as the Ipperwash inquiry , the Caledonia land dispute and the impact of the residential school system on Canada's Aboriginal population. My journalism career started as an internship at CBS in Miami, Florida where I worked side by side with veteran reporters. I have a degree from Ryerson university in Journalism.

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