ActionAid trains journalists on social mobilisation, FOIA request
For an improved knowledge of the media on corruption reporting and storytelling, a non- governmental organisation, ActionAid Nigeria has trained journalists and members of the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) on capacity building on social mobilisation and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The project led by ActionAid Nigeria in consortium with other national not-for-profit organisations, Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) is a five-year project of the UK Anti-Corruption in Nigeria Programme (ACORN), designed to address corruption through change in social norms, public attitudes that support corruption.
With various studies that have shown that corruption which is a social problem that affects social, political and economic life of a country hinders development and prevents investment in public values.
To break the jinx of corruption in the country, citizens have been urged on the responsibility of demanding a better society in which accountability and transparency in public and private sectors are norms, through getting the right information to guide engagements with the government and the private sector that does business with it.
The Project Manager, SCRAP-C, Newton Otsemaye, explained that the essence of the training was to build the capacity of journalists to be equipped to report things that resonate with the citizens.
He added that the training will enforce strong collaboration between the media and the civil society, with increased reportage on corruption issues.
The project, which already is in its second year, Otsemaye said, is focused on four sectors – the power, education, health and tax justice.
On the role of the media in fighting corruption in Nigeria, he said: “It is constitutional for the media to fight corruption because they are the watchdog of government.
If the media is strengthened and up to task, there will be more reports on corruption and the citizens will use those reports to engage government better.
“We also did citizen’s behavioural change on corruption and we find out that they accept the norm and that is why corruption is still thriving in the society.
We are using those researches to drive this project.
We want to instill on people the adverse mentality to corruption, where you see corruption, you are able to report it and not whether the person is closely related to you or not.
“Until we drive the citizens to begin to own some of these policies, the federal government’s drive in fighting corruption is bound to fail. In driving this, you need the media because they are the ones who inform the citizens about what is going on.
If it is not constantly registered, there would be problem.”
About 25 journalists from different media houses and other CSOs who participated at the workshop, had facilitators who took them through different topics including journalism skills, practical steps to writing investigative stories and data driven journalism among others.
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