Week One - Introductions and understanding of sensitive issues

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the ediscussion on addressing sensitive issues on air.

In our regular broadcast activities, we are very often confronted with dealing with sensitive issues on air. These are topics that have an impact on the values ​​of individuals and communities and can sometimes cause misunderstanding and discontent.

So how can we deal with these sensitive issues without offending some people while encouraging voluntary listeners’ participation in radio programs? This is the question that led Farm Radio International to offer this opportunity to discuss ways and means of addressing these issues with professionalism.

Our discussion is scheduled to run for four weeks. We will be sharing our experiences, asking questions and learning from other broadcasters across Africa, as well as from invited resource persons @Mimi @bkaneka and Jaqueline. Anyone who participates actively throughout the four-weeks discussion will receive a certificate of participation upon completion.

During these four weeks, we will mainly focus on the following discussion points:

  • Understanding sensitive issues;
  • Knowing your audience;
  • Ensuring that our information is accurate and up to date;
  • How to create a safe and conducive environment for learning.

Here’s what you need to do this week:

  • Introduce yourself. Your introduction should include your name, your country, the name of your radio station or organization, and your role in the organization.
  • Then tell us what you understand by ‘sensitive issues’;
  • Share some sensitive issues that you have already worked on at your station.
  • Comment on the contributions of other participants.

Note that active participants who introduce themselves during this first week and post at least two meaningful messages in each of the other three weeks will receive an “active participant” certificate issued by Farm Radio International at the end of the discussion.

For your introductions, please use only written texts to allow us to properly collect your information for certificate purposes.

Have an excellent day !



Thank you very much Busi for the introduction. My name is Dr Benjamin Kaneka, a Senior Lecturer in Population Studies at the University of Malawi. I am an expert in understanding population dynamics, gender and reproductive health. I will be providing insights into gender and power relations in the communities, gender based violence, sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and empowerment. To me these are some of the sensitive issues on the continent. All these will be in relation to economic empowerment through agriculture related interventions.


My name is Isaac Kikanda from Ndola, Copperbelt Province , Zambia . I am The Station Manager for Radio Chimwemwe.

Radio Chimwemwe is a Non-profit , Community and Christian Media organization wholly owned by the United Church of Zambia.

‘Sensitive issues’ these are matters which are bordered on controversial topics likely to change people’s perception of a situation, a person , a belief or about an environment. For example " A priest dies at a prostitutes house " , “Government Ministers caught in corrupt activities”, “Teen abortion and use of contraceptives” just to give a few examples.

  1. At Radio Chimwemwe, we run a series of programs among the most prominent ones we have a show dubbed " Nani Akanandilako" translated “Who will speak for me” on this show sensitive issues are addressed especially those dealing with labour issues in private companies and matters of Gender based violence among others.

The most critical one was “GBV in men” the matter was so sensitive as men in society are seen and given a fatherly figure who can not easily be intimidated by women but to have a series of men come on a program and confess that they have been victims of GBV was such a sensitive matter, which had an impact to change the narrative in the minds of society in regards to how men have been viewed.

Also exposing of unfair treatment of employees in private companies was a serious sensitive issues as the people involved had a likelihood of loosing their jobs and also risked the companies which were found wanting to be closed or inspected by the labour authorities.

Further the local labour officers were exposed for being corrupt and for not taking time to inspect the private companies because they had received some bribes not to do so by the owners of the companies.

In doing so Radio Chimwemwe was this year emerged and awarded number one position for Best Programming in Labour Day Programming during this year’s labour day celebration.

Isaac kikanda
Station Manager
Radio Chimwemwe
Ndola , Copperbelt Zambia

Listen live . Listen to Radio Chimwemwe 91.7 FM from Ndola live on Radio Garden – Radio Garden

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Hello @Kikanda

Welcome to our discussion platform. We are glad you have joined us. We trust we will learn a lot from each other through sharing of experiences and more.

I really like the examples you have given, they cover a number of issues, religion, politics and social issues.

This indeed is a sensitive issue across the globe because in most cases, men are raised as the stronger vessels that cannot cry and are supposed to be in control all the time while they are human like everyone of us and can be abused.

Thank you for sharing

Welcome @bkaneka

We are delighted to have you with us and we are looking forward to learning a lot from you. Indeed all you mentioned are issues we have to deal with in our African continent.


Hello everyone. My name is Mariama Sowe a Media Trainer from Sierra Leone. Sensitive issues on air can range from different topics including but not limited to gender issues, Politics, Agriculture, human rights among others. Sensitive issues may differs from one society to another and can be based on culture, gender, religion, tradition etc. What may be sensitive for one group may not be for the other group. So as broadcasters we need to know the particular group we want to communicate to to determine how we can handle it.

For example, in 2012, I had the opportunity to cover some human rights election stories for Journalists for Human Rights SL. I covered a story on the “Rights of Blind voters” during the interview session I learnt alot of words that can be used to describe the blind. How? When I introduced myself and told them my objective. They didn’t want to talk to me. So I was very polite and asked why? They told me about others who have interviewed them before and hearing these stories on air annoys them. They said the language used to describe them and also the manner in which their story is portrayed. I had to spend 2weeks before I was granted an interview. When I had the interviews, I was very careful putting the report together to not hurt them and in the process I received an award for best human rights reporting story 2012. It was a great experience.

Looking forward to learning and interacting. Thank you

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Hello @Mamsul

We are glad you joined us. We are looking forward to sharing ideas and experience as we move along.

This is well said, indeed I may find something sensitive while the other person from somewhere else may not see it as sensitive.


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Hello everyone, my Millicent Kargbo from Sierra Leone. I am one of the resource persons for this discussion. I am a co-founder and first President for the Sierra Leone Association of Women in Journalism (SLAWIJ).

SLAWIJ is a national media Association established in 2020 for women journalists from print, electronic media, and other areas of communication. The Association’s primary focus is women, and it uses the media as a tool to advance issues that affect them. SLAWIJ recognises that gender inequality and iniquity undermines effectiveness and development even within the media. It also recognises that the media is a powerful tool for social chnage and agenda-setting.

Millicent had over 10 years experience as a broadcast journalist working at various levels within the newsroom before switching to Public Relations. She currently works with the national human rights institution in Sierra Leone (Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone) as the Principal Public Information Officer.
She is passionate about the professional growth of women journalists, gender mainstreaming, and women’s empowerment.



Hello everyone , My name is Fredrick Silwimba from Ndola, Copperbelt Province , Zambia . I am a producer for Radio Chimwemwe.
Radio Chimwemwe is a Non-profit , Community and Christian Media organization wholly owned by the United Church of Zambia.
Sensitive issues , these can be subjects or topics that can cause disagreement or make people angry or upset , hence one needs extra attention , in dealing with theme so that you wont be implicated .
for example at radio chimwemwe we covered a story where an old woman was been suspected to be a witchcraft , when the listeners heard the story on radio immediately they ran to her house so that they can stone her to death , saying even Radio Chimwemwe has aired the story , we need no other evidence for this … We had to analyse the issue from all angles so that we calm the situation … ! in doing that we received massive support from our listeners as the Best in analytic news.
Thanks Fredrick Silwimba
Listen live . [Listen to Radio Chimwemwe 91.7 FM from Ndola live on Radio Garden – Radio Garden

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Hello @fredrick1

Welcome to our discussion! We are delighted to have you join us. Apologies for the automated message you received, what is important is that you are here now.

Indeed extra attention is needed so that you may provide valuable facts in addressing these issues. The aim of addressing sensitive issues is not to make people angry or cause disagreement, instead it is to make sure whatever has been identified as not going right is corrected.

When it comes to issues of witchcraft, it is really a delicate matter that can end up being fatal as witchcraft cannot be proven. It is an issue that can endanger someone’s life as it did in your situation with the community rushing to the accused witch’s house. Sensitive issues can be issues people feel uncomfortable with like issues of religion, politics, sexual health etc.

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I am Jipson Banda, Nsanje, Malawi. I work for Nyanthepa Community Radio Station. My name cannot taste good given to a female.

Sensitive issues are issues that shape behaviors and values and influence certain altitudes that lead to people applying intended course of actions in a society.

Issues become sensitive by the perceptions and or events that occur in a society effected by a decision of one or many people.

Issues also become sensitive by default according to way people live in a society. This can be categorized better as influenced by the customs and or set written laws.

At our institution we have ever covered some issues that we regarded as normal only to result into being sensitive.

A man suspected to have been involved in the brutal killing of one business man was arrested.

As radio we covered the story in our news bulletin that he was to appear before court on a so so date.

On the day to appear before court the community ganged to administer justice with their hands.

The incident turned out violent, a fierce riot broke out between police and community members.

In most cases issues that seem to wear a face of sensitivity and has a high probabilty of inciting violence is foregone.

But we have ever covered issues of gender, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 et cetera

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Wow! Two weeks? You were patient enough, less wonder an award was won. I believe the two weeks was given to studying what was ideal for the and what couldn’t work!

Let me agree with you that sensitive issues differ from according to areas (communities)

Society sets what’s ideal for them or not by learning from set courses of action, that sets their perception (s) and guides their altitude.

It is more of like, a person eats fish today and vomits and tomorrow he/she sees fish again and with the experience of yesterday’s feels like to vomit again. And finally decides not to eat again.

Hello everyone, I am Angelina Mkabili, presenter Mwanedu FM radio station,in Kenya, Taita Taveta community.

  1. i.My understanding on sensitive issues…

These are happening issues which one has to tackle them carefully because in most cases they cause disagreement to parties involved and even anger.

A story happened during COVID-19 era where a father was with his female child at in scenario where the wife was in lockdown in another place in the country here in Kenya, so the husband got attempted and had sexual affair with his child and resulted to pregnancy , issue which was reported but just ended in the community as it was decided by community leaders because it family issues.

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Hello @AnjelinaMkabili

Welcome to our e-discussion. We are delighted to have you join us.

Indeed the example you shared is sensitive. At least the community did not attack the family but decided that the family may sort it out themselves. Did they broadcast the issue on radio?


This is indeed a catchy one. People still regard traditional media as their authentic source of information. That is why the media should be careful on the stories they carry.

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The issue about violence against men really rattles feathers. The narrative has been that it is men that cause harm on women due to power relations. However, the reality is that men are also at the receiving end of GBV . Due to ego and societal expectations of what being a male/man means, they suffer in silence. As of now in Malawi, more than 90 percent of suicide cases involve men with two related reasons: marital/relationships problems and financial problems

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These cases have also been common in Malawi. In certain parts of Malawi it might be cultural in the sense that the children belong to the mothers’ clan . The bond between the father and his children is very week culturally.

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Hello everyone

As we round off Week 1, here are some highlights that came out especially on our WhatsApp group discussion:


  • Sensitive issues are topics that some quarters of the society may feel uncomfortable to talk about at a given time or platform.
  • Sensitive issues are those issues that need to be dealt with carefully, if not, it will cause confusion and disagreement.
  • Sensitive issues are matters which are bordered on controversial topics likely to change people’s perception of a situation, a person , a belief or about an environment.
  • sensitive issues are the issues that are likely to cause disagreements and arguments.
  • There are issues that raise questions and need to be handled with care in order not to offend anyone.
  • Sensitive Issues are indeed very critical and crucial issues that every radio personality must be careful of and be mindful of so that it will not cause or escalate any issues that will be harmful to the society.
  • Sensitive issues refers to statements, views or opinions expressed or vent out by an individual on live broadcast that may sound distasteful to another person or group that can degenerate confrontations, threats or violence in the society
  • Sensitive issues are those issues that cause anger, sadness, hatred etc among certain people when they are said or discussed. Some of these sensitive issues could be things that happened in the past and were never atoned.
  • sensitive issues are those topics or discussions which are put on air likely to incite the public to react negativity or the opposite
  • sensitive issues are issues which are likely to cause panic to our audience if not delivered to them consciously, hence the need for broadcasters to be cautious when addressing such issues.
  • Sensitive issues are problems which are highly sensitive ,they involve emotions and voices mainly of the affected
  • Sensitive issues are things or life styles that are obvious in our lives but are difficult to be accepted in our environment, they are real facts but we are ashamed to discuss and accept the truth. If discussed we are shy to accept the obvious. However, our culture is intimidating us from facing the truth.
  • Sensitive issues are things we do of say that undermines or demoralize some groups and triggers their emotions
  • sensitive issues are issues that are discussed but not taken well by the listener.
  • Sensitive issues are issues that needs to be well looked into before presenting them to our audience, because they might cause harm to other people, raise conflicts, lead to discrimination and what have you.
  • Sensitive issues are those issues that can trigger violence or tarnish the image of someone
  • Sensitive issues are issues that affect our community mostly reported on air and on social media platforms.
  • Sensitive issues are matters that are very crucial which have tendency to touch daily activities life of the people(s) and sometimes have the tendency to create positive attitude or negative attitude in society if not discuss in good way or handle properly in discussion on Air
  • By sensitive issues we are looking at matters that might not sit well with the listeners or matters that disturb the peace of mind of the listeners
  • “Sensitive Issues” are issues that are delicate which can always generate discussion among listeners.
  • Our diversities are really key in discussing these issues and quite appreciative of the fact that societies evolve over time and certainly will see some go along with time while embracing other new ones due to the changing nature of the society.
  • Sensitive issues vary depending on the state laws, cultural beliefs and so on
  • to be sensitive" some thing or a matter has to have the ability to cause some discomfort in the eyes , ears, thinking of some members of society, cultural beliefs or something or an arrangement that constitutes a congregation of humans.
  • Sensitive issues are those topics that bring discomfort to some sections of your listeners such as politicians and their supporters who may retaliate in a negative way to silence you. So, airing sensitive issues sometimes has inherent risks
  • Sensitive issues are issues that shape behaviors and values and influence certain attitudes that lead to people applying intended course of actions in a society.
  • Issues become sensitive by the perceptions and or events that occur in a society affected by a decision of one or many people.
  • Issues also become sensitive by default according to the way people live in a society. This can be categorized better as influenced by the customs and or set written laws.
  • Sensitive issues in a lay man’s language can be described as issues that are deemed unfit to be broadcasted or talked about in a particular society. It could be as a result of cultural beliefs or religious beliefs.


  • These may include sexual orientation and sexuality in general, religion, politics
  • Sexual behavior or practices eg LGBT
  • Illegal activities or ethically questionable behaviors.
  • Racism, ageism,h classism, discrimination, and sexism.
  • Involving experiences of grief and loss, trauma, or violence.
  • Experience of being part of any of the potentially vulnerable populations.
  • Job performance
  • Certain crime programmes that can lead to exposing or educating some gullible minds on how such acts are carried out.
  • Culture or tradition
  • Topics like about developmental delays, behavior, family changes, sexuality, cultural customs, and social practices among others
  • What may be sensitive for one group may not be for the other group.
  • Sexual reproductive health eg abortion

Enjoy your weekend!

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My name is Rashid Muzungyo from Kapchorwa Trinity Radio (KTR) in eastern Uganda.Iam a reporternews reader and co host of weekly farmers programme.
The KTR radio first established in 2007 by American missionaries belongs to the Presbyterian Church in Uganda.
Sensitive issues are issues that are controversial in a community and usually attract a lot of attention.
Kapchorwa Trinity Radio runs several programmes that include health,farming and community policing. One sensitive issue is that of female genital mutilation that is practiced by the sabiny community that forms majority of the stations listenership.
The group decampaigning the practice are often criticized by the traditionalists who claim to be gate keepers on issues related to their customs.The traditionalists want the campaign to be championed by traditionalists.While in a programme where issues if FGM are mentioned some listeners want the topic to be left because it’s a taboo.This has been an ongoing issue.
Despite all this the ministry of gender has been pushing for it’s total eradication working through partners.
Wish you fruitful discussion.

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