Fighting corruption: Media fund campaign to support investigative journalism

General News of Monday, 28 May 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2018-05-28

ACILA says he wants more money to allow journalists to investigate corruption

Investigative journalism in Ghana is stocked with a robust – but miniscule – group of storytellers, and William Nyarko, Executive Director for the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), warns that corruption could topple over if the media doesn’t beef up its ranks.

It’s the reason why he is calling for a grant to support investigate journalists to enhance their capabilities and uncover hidden truths in Ghana.

“Investigate journalism is expensive,” said Nyarko to Myjoyonline.com. “We want to create a fund, independently run, which will tell the stories of corruption and abuse of power.”

At the “Forum on Media and Corruption” organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa last week, Nyarko urged fellow media professionals to consider the facts: in many cases, journalists at media houses cannot follow up on critical investigative reports because it’s risky. But left ignored, it could leave power-abusing duty bearers unscathed.

“It is the responsibility for media houses to provide these funds, but the reality is, many media houses don’t have the means,” said Nyarko, adding that, “in democracy, people rely on the media to make informed decisions, so there needs to be more journalists who can accurately report on public accountability issues.”

Dr. Zakaria Tanko agrees. As a lawyer and professor at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, he advocates that the fund is not an option – it is necessary.

“Corruption is becoming so pervasive in our society and we need to keep the spotlight on exposing it in all its forms,” he said. “A fund such as the one being proposed will cure the issue of lack of resources and will see an increasing number of journalists venturing into investigative work. This will go a long way in the fight against corruption.”

Nyarko is calling on crowdsourcing methods, embassies, donors and media houses for support. Once funding is gathered, there will be an awards committee composing of non-media professionals (to avoid conflict of interest) who will review applications sent by journalists. Funds will be allocated to selected journalists, then they will be required to attend workshops and partner with mentors provided by the organization.

Thus far, Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner of Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and Tirso Dos Santos, Ghana’s representative to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Country (UNESCO) have both pledged full support of the fund.

Nyarko’s targeted goal is to reach a GH¢25,000 threshold. Plans to begin the award selection process begins in June. For more information on ACILA, visit here.

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