Ikenga Media and Cultural Awareness Initiative Trains South-east Journalists on Investigative Reporting

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Ikenga Media and Cultural Awareness Initiative (IMCAI), publishers of Ikengaonline, has held three one-day workshops for journalists in the South East region of Nigeria on investigative reporting, ethical reporting, and safety measures in the line of duty.

The workshop which was interactive had participants drawn from the print, electronic and online media. Veteran journalists, mass communications lecturers and security experts featured as resource persons.

One of the resource persons, Elder Ralph Egbu, a former Secretary to the Abia State Government, made a presentation titled “Ethical Issues: What Kind of News Is News.”

He urged journalists to be responsible in their reportage and eschew sensationalism and falsehood, adding that ethical reports should be objective, accurate and fair to all sides.

Elder Egbu urged participants to be alive to their responsibility of holding leaders accountable through unbiased investigative reports and advised them to shun fake news and ethnic profiling as they are capable of setting the country ablaze.

Another resource person, Dr Uwaoma Uche, an Associate Professor of Mass Communication, tasked participants on investigative journalism which he noted “takes time and resources but very rewarding.” He regretted that news reporting in Nigeria was still being challenged by politically- induced stories.

Dr. Uche challenged media aides of public office holders to stop being confrontational with critics of their principals but simply puncture any criticism with incontrovertible proofs of achievements by their bosses.

The Abia State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna, who gave a presentation on safety, cautioned journalists to observe safety precautions in the course of duty especially while visiting disaster and crime scenes.

He advised against brandishing of their identify cards but to rather have them handy, and to avoid touching objects at crime scenes or going beyond the red tape.

In his remark, Mr. Sampson Ademola of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) commended Ikengaonline for the training which he said would help to improve on the proficiency of the participants for better reportage.

He urged them to focus more on the activities of states and local governments which he noted, were grossly under-reported.

In his opening remarks at the Owerri workshop, the Coordinator of IMCAI, Dr Chido Onumah, said that the training was aimed at educating South-East-based journalists on investigative reporting on many overlooked sectors in the zone to help draw national and global attention to them.

He charged participants to utilise the knowledge they would acquire in the training to help bring the zone to the national media space.

A former Permanent Secretary and a veteran broadcaster, Sir Chimdi Oluoha, in a remark, decried the dictatorial tendency of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and called for a review of its activities.

Sir Oluoha said “The problem with Nigeria is that regulators come from the outside. You can’t regulate from the outside. You don’t regulate what you don’t know.

“For now, what we have is not regulation but pure impediment against the broadcast media. It is a big error to close down broadcast stations.”

He regretted that those in authority always see the media as enemies instead of partners in progress.

Participants at the workshop expressed delight over the training which they noted, had enhanced their proficiency.

The three training workshops on investigative reporting for journalists in the South-East is part of the activities by the Ikenga Media and Cultural Awareness Initiative (IMCAI) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project, CMEDIA, a multi-level intervention for media independence and government accountability, managed by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and supported by MacArthur Foundation.