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PTCIJ trains 100 Nigerian journalists on fact-checking, investigative reporting
PREMIUM Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) has commenced a seven-day training for 100 journalists across newsrooms in the country.
The participants, selected from 550 applications nationwide, began the training on Monday in Abuja.
Mbolo Eno, programme manager and advocacy at PTCIJ, said the training was put together to improve investigation and fact checking of the criminal justice and accountability system nationwide.
“For a number of reasons, fact checking has become critical to the capacity of the media to function effectively in a democracy,” says Dapo Olorunyomi, executive director of PTCIJ.
Olorunyomi, who doubles as the Publisher of Premium Times, said truth has come under severe assault, most especially in recent time.
“If you can’t trust on account of truth, and truth is the central principle of journalism, then the very foundation of our practice has come under serious attack,” he said. “To that extent, one of the mechanisms for renewing the principle of truth is to strengthen the practise of journalism in its capacity to be able to deliver accurate and actual information to the people.”
Akintunde Babatunde, programme officer at PTCIJ, in his presentation titled, “Mutations in Accountability Journalism,” analysed how the media organisations had struggled between two but complementary models – the social model and the economic model.
“The broad social preoccupation we serve, from defending democracy, to expanding freedom, providing oversight against a rapacious state, advocating for development solutions and anti-corruption all fall within our social model,” he said.
“These lofty aspirations will achieve no penetration except we secure the right fit of economic model to enable them, and to ensure they serve their true purpose.”
Emmanuel Bagudu, one of the participants from Peoples Television, said the training was vital for self-development and journalism practice, pointing out that fact checking is important for the country to really sustain its democracy.
“We know of the case in Rwanda where an electronic media was propagating the message of an opposition which eventually caused genocide. So in Nigeria, we are in a situation where we are trying to foster national unity and the country has been struggling to sustain its democratic process,” he said.
Abubakar Yakubu, a senior reporter from the Voice of Nigeria (VON) said that distinguishing between fact checking and investigative reporting was always a challenge.
“For me, when I do reports, I just look out for two sources, thinking that I have balanced the story not knowing that you need to do fact checking to know if what they really dished-out is truth. But with this training, it has changed my understanding.”
Gift Wada, journalist from the Inclusive Press, expressed excitement for the knowledge so far acquired on the difference between fact checking and investigative reporting.
Jane Orikri, Aproko Magazine, also described the media as a tool for positive change and a last resort for information, adding that it should project factual information.
Other participants were drawn from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Oak TV, Leadership, The Sun, among others.