Institute trains journalists on human rights, accountability reporting
In view of the high level of rights abuses being experienced in the country, U.K.-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), in collaboration with International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), has trained journalists and members of civil society on how to effectively report human rights abuses and accountability issues.
While speaking at the event, the founding Executive Director of ICIR, Mr. Dayo Aiyetan observed that there were knowledge and skill gaps in the area of investigative reporting in the country. He said the essence of the training workshop on ‘Human Rights Accountability Reporting’ was to enhance the skills of journalists on investigative journalism and human rights and justice issues effectively.
Aiyetan said, “We want many journalists in Nigeria to have capacity to do critical reporting that goes beyond government officials and this requires special skills. We have other projects that are running; we focus on areas in our polity that needs special attention. Most media organisations don’t have the resources to undertake necessary training for their reporters.”
He further stated that civil society and the media needed to work towards the same goal of holding government accountable in order to create a more transparent public space.
On his part, Programme Manager, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Mr. Thomas Baker, observed that there are a number of human rights abuses in Nigeria and Kenya that have not been explored or covered the way they should and said his institute would help cover them better. Baker said the institute, through its project ‘Voices for Change,’ wants to help the media to make positive change.
Also speaking, human rights activist, Richard Akinola, noted that over the years, focus was on civil and political rights and stressed the need to give attention to the second generation of rights, which are the social and economic rights, adding, “Human rights reporting goes beyond detention. We need to highlight it when executive lawlessness becomes an issue in a democracy. It is unfortunate that under a democratic government we are experiencing this kind of executive lawlessness where government has no regard for judicial decisions; these are the issues the media should also focus on.”
Akinola lamented that despite being a signatory to CEDAW and the Supreme Court’s ruling on the rights of widows to inherit their late husbands’ estates, widows were still being denied their rights. He decried other harmful widowhood practices being experienced in the country, especially in the South-East, and urged the media to carry out more advocacy reporting on such issues.