WikkiTimes, an online news platform, has trained over 30 journalists selected from print, broadcast and online news outlets from across the six north-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, on grassroots accountability reporting.
Mr, Haruna Salisu Mohammed, publisher of WikkiTimes, and the convener of the training, in his opening remarks said “it became necessary to empower grassroots journalists with contemporary reportorial skills to be able to bring unreported and under-reported issues at subnational levels to the knowledge of those in positions of authority as well as the populace to make a breakthrough in altering the common dogma narrative of underdevelopment at the grassroots levels.”
Haruna stated that the training is part of what the WikkiTimes team is known for and is trying to improve the capacity of reporters at the grassroots level on doing serious journalism that will hold those at the helm of affairs accountable.
He added that the people in power, are left unchecked, making the tendency of abusing power to become high and it is the job of journalists as the watchdog of the society to ensure that they protect Nigeria’s evolving democracy because it is in their best interest that this democracy works for everyone.
“The masses don’t have what it takes to access the right resources and right education and they naturally rely on the press, and we will maintain the philosophy of checkmating those in positions of authority,” he said.
According to the organisers, some of the participants in the training interviewed expressed readiness to report unreported happenings in their communities to have a meaningful impact on the lives of the kith and kins.
The two-day training that took place in Gombe was held under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development, Inclusivity and Accountability (CMEDIA) Project, an initiative of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The Collaborative Media Engagement is aimed to strengthen media independence and presence, especially at state and local government levels and the private sector, in a bid to improve public awareness and the ecosystem for transparency, accountability and good governance.