Ten early-career journalists and student journalists have successfully completed a five-month training on investigative journalism organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).
On the theme; “MFWA’s Next Generation Investigation Journalism Fellows”, the young journalists who are between the ages of 20 and 33, were selected through a competitive application process including aptitude test and interview.
During the five-months training, the participants worked directly under the MFWA’s public interest and accountability journalism project- The Fourth Estate.
They received intensive practical training on data journalism, fact-checking and visualisation, investigative journalism and basic multi-media and mobile journalism.
They were also taken through how to use the Right to Information law to access important datasets that can serve as the basis for groundbreaking journalism.
The five-month fellowship afforded participants the opportunity to learn from the experiences of some of the finest in investigative journalism in West Africa.
Key Fellowship activities included bootcamps, seminars; story writing and factchecking including field work; Media and Institutional tours; Speaking engagements with high profile industry players and some recreational activities.
At the end of the Fellowship, each participant produced at least one significant report.
The participants were awarded with certificates in Accra.
Three among the participants, Redeemer Buatsi, Emmanuella Dadugblor and Richard Mensah, received cash prizes for their outstanding performance during the training.
The Executive Director of the MFWA, Mr Sulemana Braimah, indicated that the democracy across West Africa was relapsing at an alarmingly fast pace and that nearly all countries' democratic institutions were getting weaker.
Unfortunately, he said, the situation was further compounded by growing poverty, escalating youth unemployment, rising inequality and mounting insecurity.
He indicated that at the heart of the democratic relapse was the problem of deep-seated corruption, injustice and abuse of power.
Dealing with the challenges
Mr Braimah said a major step towards dealing with the challenges confronting the continent was to break the culture of secrecy and opacity and replace that with a culture of openness, transparency and accountability.
He added that the media was also caught up in some challenges, thus, making it incapable of playing its roles effectively.
The executive director noted that the challenges confronting journalism needed to be responded to effectively and robustly.
As part of its efforts, he said the MFWA had gone beyond its routine media capacity building and press freedom advocacy efforts to start two in-house journalism initiatives.
“We started with a fact-checking initiative called Fact-Check Ghana aimed at helping to combat the pandemic of misinformation.
Then last year, we launched The Fourth Estate as an independent, non-profit investigative journalism project”, he said.
The Commissioner of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Mr Joseph Whittal, lauded the MFWA for the significant roles it played in the media space, stating that it had developed journalism in the right direction.
He further lauded the participants of the programme while urging the National Media Commission to partner with the foundation to help achieve its goals.
Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office, Commissioner of Police, Mrs Maame Yaa Tiwa Addo-Danquah, urged the participants to identify the appropriate authorities who could take action on their investigative piece.