Strengthening journalism and civic voices in times of democratic recession: Our work in 2021

2021 was a bit dramatic in West Africa. The region had to battle second, third and fourth waves of COVID-19 and corresponding economic hardships. The situation was further compounded by increasing insurgent attacks and two military takeovers in Guinea and Mali.

These created an unhealthy environment for the practice of independent journalism and free speech (offline and online). Despite these challenges, the MFWA worked with its national partner organisations to achieve significant milestones in expanding the frontiers of expression, revamping investigative journalism and expanding civic participation in governance processes, among others.

Specifically, the MFWA:

      • documented and reported about 118 violations against journalists, news media organisations, protesters and activists
      • mobilised over 640 people to petition Ghana’s Parliament and Minister of National Security over assaults against journalist which resulted in a meeting with the MFWA, the National Security Ministry, and some victims
      • set up a non-profit public interest accountability newsroom, The Fourth Estate, to hold duty-bearers accountable and enhance transparency in the public sector
      • set up the Next Generation Investigative Journalism Fellowship
      • strengthened civic voices in governance processes through town hall meetings and radio broadcasts
      • strengthened the capacity of journalists and citizen groups to use right to information laws to demand information from public institutions and to improve accountability
      • produced counternarratives to clarify and/or demystify rumours, myths and mis/disinformation about COVID-19, and political and social claims
      • petitioned the Guinean authorities which contributed to the release of two Guinean journalists, Amadou Diouldé Diallo and Ibrahima Sadio Bah
      • empowered over 150 female journalists, bloggers and activists on women’s rights online in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Details of the these milestones and others are contained in our 2021 annual report.

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