The Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) launched on April 14th, its regional investigative journalism and corruption reporting training of trainers. The events gathered 22 participants from Eastern Africa countries at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa premises in Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia). The training runs until April 18th.
EAJA has organized the training as part of its efforts to build the capacity of media in Eastern Africa region by providing in-depth knowledge and skills on investigative journalism and corruption reporting in the region, Alexandre Niyungeko, EAJA Secretary General told participants at the opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Honorable Mpéré Diarra, former Vice President and member of the Arusha based African Union Advisory Board on Corruption.
“EAJA is also working to build capacity of journalists in the region. We need to build a network of trainers in investigative journalism and corruption reporting in our region. That’s why the training will have a particular focus on how skills, tools and techniques could be utilized to investigate and report corruption within an environment of poor governance, widespread poverty and limited media freedom,” Niyungeko said.
The training is an activity of a three year EAJA project supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) dedicated to promoting media freedom and ending impunity in Eastern Africa.
By exploiting the use of international instruments such as United Nations Convention against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, the training will expand knowledge of participants on the understanding of international norms and standards while covering skills, tools and techniques required to conduct investigative journalism.
“Investigative journalism, if properly and ethically applied, can play a pivotal role in exposing practices of mal-administration, corruption and problem of governance, thereby enabling our media professionals to contribute their share in ensuring democracy and good governance,” Antenneh Abraham Babanto, President of the Ethiopian National Journalists Union (ENJU) said when welcoming participants.
Bringing the solidarity of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), Gabriel Baglo, Africa director of the IFJ, lauded the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AU-ABC) for accepting to attend the session to sensitize the participants on the Anti-corruption programme of the African Union. He also thanked the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) for accepting to engage participants on the challenges of accessing information in Africa.
“The role of the African journalists and media in fighting corruption is the main issue to be addressed by this training of trainers’ workshop. One expected result of the workshop is to enable the trainees to train investigative reporters at national levels in Eastern Africa. In-country workshops will take place in all Eastern African countries following this regional session of 5 days,” Baglo said.
In order for the journalists and the media to succeed in their mission of investigative reporting, the safety of media professionals and their right to access information in the public domain are instrumental. At this stage, the IFJ Africa director called on the African Union to adopt the Declaration on African Platform on Access to Information and the Resolution on the Safety of Journalists in Africa.
The AU-ABC considers the partnership with journalists as an important strategic value in accordance with Article 22 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and fighting against corruption which set partnerships with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, the African civil society, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to facilitate dialogue on the fight against corruption and related offenses, Honorable Mpéré Diarra said.
The training will make a critical analysis of the corruption situation in Africa with comparison to corruption investigative case studies from Eastern Africa. As a follow up to this training, EAJA will develop a training manual on investigative journalism and corruption reporting. Moreover, 11 in-country training will be organized on investigating and reporting corruption in a bid to roll out national trainings to the country level, a follow-up training for the trainers. 25 participants will be trained at the country level.