MORE robust collaboration is needed between the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to promote the culture of accountability and transparency in governance in Africa.
This was the remark of the Executive Director of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Dayo Aiyetan, during a recent event involving journalists and activists in Accra, Ghana.
The event was a roundtable discussion between The ICIR, CSOs, and journalists towards implementing an investigative project on media engagement with key civil rights groups in Ghana and Nigeria.
Aiyetan said that although the Ghanaian and Nigerian media spaces have good relationships with CSOs, it is important for such partnerships to be deepened in order to yield better results.
The event was funded by Ford Foundation under the theme, “Promoting Social justice and Accountability Issues in West Africa.”
It is hoped, Aiyetan said, that by amplifying social accountability issues, sustaining discussions on identified challenges, and pushing for policy change and or its implementation through investigative reporting, more meaningful and enduring impact will be achieved.
Journalists and activists were encouraged to focus attention on illicit cross-border crimes, embezzlement of funds by state officials, and human trafficking.
Aiyetan urged journalists not to focus only on money or the incentives they would receive, but rather, they should be driven by the fact that they serve as watchdogs of the society, assisting in the fight against corruption.
He advised that journalists should use the data gathered by CSOs as basis for their investigations, by highlighting how government failings or instances of corruption affect the ordinary citizens.
Aiyetan said such investigative, data-driven, watchdog reporting will keep both the leaders and the led in check, as well as push the agenda for punishing offenders.