Wole Soyinka Centre, MRA, 25 Others Collaborate to Foster Government Accountability

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Motunrayo Alaka
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xecutive Director, WSCIJ

The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) in partnership with 26 other civil society and media organizations, including Media Rights Agenda (MRA), have launched a collaborative project aimed at fostering media independence and government accountability in Nigeria.

Tagged the “Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project”, the initiative is a multi-level intervention over a three-year period which seeks to improve accountability at various levels of government, including Federal, State and local governments. The project will run from 2022 until the end of 2024.

Under the collaboration, the partner organizations will implement various activities, including building the capacity of partners and partners’ beneficiaries on media ethics and safety, among other issues; collaborating to defend the partnership, the media and the sanctity of the civic space; leading conversations and providing thought leadership on media independence, accountability of government at all levels; training journalists on media and other freedom of expression laws as well as media ethics; and supporting individual and collaborative investigative stories focused on sub-national regions, marginalized groups and the private sector.

The initiative is expected to strengthen media independence, improve

accountability at sub-national levels of government, contribute to accountability in the private sector, increase the representation of marginalised voices in the media, increase collaboration between media and other stakeholders, and also enable the media to tell its own stories

The project is supported by the MacArthur Foundation and coordinated by the Wole Soyinka Centre.  The Centre will make sub-grants to the 26 other media and media-related organisations to implement their various components of the proposed activities.

Besides the Wole Soyinka Centre, which promotes ethics and sustainability in the media by using investigative and accountability journalism to expose corruption, regulatory failures and human rights violations and MRA, an organization which works to promote and defend media freedom, freedom of expression, access to information, digital rights and Internet freedom, other collaborating organizations in the project include AD4 Communications Limited, owners of Ad4tvradio, an online web text and television and radio outfit created to bridge the gap in information documentation across the world; the Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals (AFYMP), a pan African non-profit initiative established to raise the standard of media professional practice in Africa through capacity development; and theAfrica Centre for Development Journalism, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting data development and knowledge-based journalism in Africa.

Others are theAfrican Centre for Transparency, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to promote public accountability and good governance through public education; Afritel Multimedia Limited, owners ofAlbarka 89.9 FM, a broadcast organisation which seeks to educate and empower the public by providing platforms for opinions and debates; Boost Communication Nigeria Limited, owners of Clearview Television, which is an online news channel focusing on governance; the African Women in the Media (AWiM), an NGO which seeks the creation of an enabling environment for African women who work in the media sector; theFoundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), an independent, not-for-profit organization working to combat injustice, hold power to account and speaks for the voiceless.

Other partners include Fridabs Solacebase Communication Nigeria Limited, an online newspaper that focuses on news in northern Nigeria; Frontfoot Media Initiative, an NGO that seeks to inform, engage and inspire with the tool of journalism; the International Centre for Development Reporting, publishers of Satellite Times, an NGO which focuses special attention on issues relating to investigative reporting, development reporting, media training, research and publishing; Image Merchant Promotions Limited, owners of PRNigeria, a press release distribution agency and news platform; and Keeping It Real With Adeola (KIRWA), an online television channel that discusses current geopolitical, social and economic issues that affect the daily lives of Africans living in Africa.

Others include Foreword Communications Limited, publishers of National Point and Candour magazine, an online media outlet which focuses on news, investigative features, democratic development and governance, community development, environmental protection and justice as well as issues on women and gender; Contest Communications Limited, publishers of National Record, whose mission is to represent the underprivileged and vulnerable; NEPTUNE Network Nigeria Limited, a news outlet focused on news, entertainment, people and politics in the North East region of Nigeria; Penlight Centre, publishers of Daily Nigerian, an NGO which features multimedia information distribution platforms, including live video streaming and audio packages; the Safer-Media Initiative, established to provide advocacy for the independent media and empower journalists to conduct their craft with up-to-date skills and relative safety; the Interactive Initiative for Social Impact (Dataphyte), a media research and data analytics organisation that seeks to deploy data tools and technology for the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

The other partners are Wikkitimes Media and Publishing Limited, publishers ofWikkiTimes, an online newspaper that leverages cutting-edge technologies to deliver news to its audiences across Nigeria; Xchange Hama Media Services Limted, a general media services company; YERWA Express News Limited, a company that focuses on media education and news reports on politics, culture, history, sports and entertainment in Nigeria; Stallion Times Media Services Limited, owners of Stallion Times, which publishes news online, provides consultancy services and seeks to hold leaders and institutions accountable; Kanem Digital Hub, which focuses on news in and around the Kanem-Borno region across seven African countries of Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad, Central Africa, Libya, Niger and Sudan; and the Gender Strategy Advancement International, an NGO working in the areas of advocacy, research, content development, among other issues.