Participants at a WikkiTimes maiden colloquium have called for collaboration in accountability journalism by media outlets which share the passion of investigative journalism saying it is a powerful tool for wider penetration and reach.
This and other recommendations were made at the Wikkitimes Colloquium which held on November 26, 2022 in Gombe, Gombe State with the theme “News Desert: Sustaining Democracy Through Fearless Grassroots Accountability Journalism” with the aim to spur conversation around reporting sub-national private and public sector accountability and transparency matters to the front banner of discourse.
Participants at the colloquium were drawn from various media organisations, CSOs, academia and government agencies. they praised WikkiTimes for organising bringing professionals and like minds together for a discussion on how best to deepen discourse about investigative journalism especially in Nigerian rural communities, engender universal and common national growth and progress.
Panelists at the event included Ajibola Amzat, Centre for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ) Africa Editor; Victoria Bamas, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) Editor; Dr Hamid Adamu Muhammad, Chief Lecturer Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi; Abdulateef Abubakar Jos, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Solacebase; Mr. S.G. Idrees, Principal Partner S G Idrees and Co.; Olajide Adelana, Editor and Newsroom Mentor; and Dahiru Ibrahim Mahmood, Director Disease Control and Immunization, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Others who participated in the Colloquium were Abdul Ahmed Burra, Spokesperson to Bauchi Speaker; and Garba Dahiru, General-Manager Fombina FM, Yola. The event was moderated by Fibi Kafi, news anchor and editor at Bauchi Television Authority while Halima Ibrahim Dimis served as master of ceremony.
The Colloquium had Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, CEO and Founder of Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ) and Professor Umaru Pate, Vice-Chancellor Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State as keynote speakers.
Participants also urged news outlets to adopt multiple means of disseminating information in view of the changing pattern of media consumption for effective and deeper penetration. They called on Nigerian media to, not only fulfil their duty of holding leaders accountable, but also strive to effectively inform, educate and mobilize the citizens for national progress and development through their reportage. They added that media outlets must not ignore grassroot journalism as actors at local levels must equally be held accountable.
They also called for training and re-training of journalists to enable them meet up with current changes in ways of reporting and news presentation; that in the face of evolving technology and reporting tools, media outlets should invest in newer technologies for them to be able to compete favourably, and on the media to invest heavily in grassroots accountability journalism as failure will relegate them to become tools for politicians to exploit.
WikkTimes is an investigative, fact-checking and data journalism outlet dedicated to holding power to account through fearless reporting. Based in Bauchi, northeast Nigeria, the outlet also covers north central and north-west Nigeria. According to the outlet, its accountability journalism takes a deep dive into public procurement, corruption, human rights, criminal justice, environment, health, education, and security. It facilitates regional discourse about accountability journalism with wider national implications, in addition to training journalists in the northeast on divergent emerging journalism forms including solution and date-driven journalism.
The Colloquium was held under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability (CMEDIA) Project, with support from the MacArthur Foundation through Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).