Foreword Communications Limited, publishers of National Point Newspaper, has held a two-day training in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for journalists from the print and broadcast media from Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States to improve their ability to conduct investigative journalism and carry out inclusive reporting.
Delivering the welcome remarks, Chief Constance Meju, the Managing Editor of National Point, said the workshop was organised to train journalists in the Niger Delta on the proper perspectives of reporting the Niger Delta and to make their reports more inclusive of women, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), the elderly and people without voices in the media.
She said: “The essence of our meeting is for us to deepen our understanding of Investigative Journalism as well as inclusion of women, PWDs and the elderly.”
She added that giving voice to the diverse people that make up the Niger Delta would deepen democracy, promote accountability and make society better. But most importantly, she said, journalists in the region must “sell Niger Delta to other Nigerians so that in making policies the things that agitate the people of the region will be taken care of.”
She however cautioned journalists to protect their integrity in the course of their assignments pointing out that: “One stain from one person will affect all of us.”
She thanked the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and MacArthur Foundation for the sponsorship of the training and the participants for making themselves available.
Ms. Ibiba Don Pedro, the Managing Director of Foremost Communications Limited and National Point, said the Training was to help the journalist focus on the bigger public issues of development in the Niger Delta adding that it was programmed to expose journalists to new techniques of investigative journalism.
Noting that the Niger Delta, which is the hub of oil and gas production in Nigeria was underreported, Ms Don Pedro said, “We need to take back the control of the region and hand it over to the people,” adding that successive governments in the region had done little to meet the development needs of the people.
Resources persons at the workshop included a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Amaopusenibo Bobo Brown, who made a presentation on Ethics, Media and Development; Hon. Henry Eferegbo, who Dissected the Niger Delta Interventionist Agencies; Mr. Sunny Dadaz who delivered a paper on Data Journalism, and Comrade Styvn Obodoekwe, a human rights activist who took participants on Human Rights Reporting.
Goodwill messages were delivered by Prof. Nenibarini Zabbey, the Coordinator, Centre for Environment and Human Rights Development; Dr. Patience Osaroejiji, the Senatorial Candidate of the APM for Rivers South-East, Comrade Beatrice Itubor, the Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the Labour Party (represented by Comrade Comfort Otuene), and Pastor Tonye Cole, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who was represented by Mr. Douglas Dodoyi-Manuel.
The workshop was carried out under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability (CMEDIA), a multi-level intervention for media independence and government accountability by the WSCIJ. CMEDIA, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation working through 26 partner organisations to improve public awareness and the ecosystem for transparency, accountability and good governance and to amplify marginalised voices, especially at state and local government levels and the private sector.