Fund to promote investigative journalism launched

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Justice Emile Francis Short (standing), a former CHRAJ Commissioner, delivering some remarks. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Justice Emile Francis Short (standing), a former CHRAJ Commissioner, delivering some remarks. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

The African Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) has launched a fund to help promote investigative journalism in the country.

Dubbed ACILA Investigative Journalism Fund (AIJF), the initiative seeks to provide grants to journalists to investigate issues of public concern to ensure accountability and good governance.

The fund is open to any journalist who requires support to carry out an investigative piece to expose the ills and their roots in society.

To ensure that the desired results are achieved, ACILA has a mentoring programme in place to support grantees to carry out the investigative projects.

Committee

A seven-member committee has already been constituted to manage the fund.


The AIJF committee comprises a former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Francis Short; a former Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere; a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, United States of America (USA), Dr Jennifer Hasty; and the Executive Director of ACILA, Mr William Nyarko.

The other members are a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Mr Zakaria Tanko Musah, the Group head of Personal Banking Access Bank Ghana, Mrs Matilda Asante-Asiedu, and the President of the Alliance for Women in Media Africa (AWMA), Mrs Shamima Muslim.

Good move

Launching the AIJF in Accra last Tuesday, Justice Short said a seed capital of GH¢5,000 had been provided for the fund while donations were also being received.

He encouraged journalists to take advantage of the fund to carry out investigative pieces that would have an impact on the society and help address national development challenges.

The Head of office and representative of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mr Tirso A.S Dos Santos, said the AIJF was a worthy initiative that would help define the practice of journalism in the country.

He noted that in view of the increasing tendency of public officials to squander state funds, it required journalists to go the extra mile to get hard core evidence to hold them in check.

He added that UNESCO was in full support of undercover journalism since that was the best way to expose corruption and hold people accountable.

For his part, Mr Blay-Amihere urged journalists to be meticulous in carrying out investigative pieces to make the media a relevant watchdog over the organs of government.

He said investigative journalism was a necessity in the country’s quest to fight corruption.