The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has commenced a major media development project in Ghana aimed at enhancing both professional standards and the watchdog role of the Ghanaian media.
The MFWA’s Programme Officer for Media Development and Democratisation, Ms. Abigail Larbi, explained that the project forms part of the MFWA’s objective of strengthening the media to play a major role in the promotion of transparent, accountable and participatory governance in Ghana, particularly within the local governance structures.
“As an organisation, we recognise the tremendous role the media can play in improving our governance and promoting development. But it is not just any media that can offer such contributions. What we are aspiring for is a highly professional, ethical, critical and independent media, which will be doing very in-depth reporting on critical areas such as health, education, extractives and governance as a whole,” said Ms. Larbi.
The project, which is being implemented with funding from STAR-Ghana, will be formerly launched on Thursday, March 13. It will involve daily monitoring of ethical violations on 25 selected radio stations, 10 newspapers and five news websites across the country. Monthly reports on ethical violations occurring on the target media houses will then be compiled and publicised. For each month, a panel of media experts will be convened to discuss ethical infractions that are recorded and ways to avoid such violations.
While seeking to promote professional standards, the project will at the same time, implement activities that will help enhance the watchdog role of the media and contribute to improving governance in the country.
Ms. Abigail explained that there are many fine journalists with great story ideas, evidence of wrongdoing in many sectors of the country and fantastic human interest stories that need to be told.
“In many instances, however, such stories are not pursued by journalists because they may not have the resources for travelling around to talk to relevant sources and gather the necessary pieces of evidence to do complete, credible and impactful stories. This is why under the project, we will be providing funding to journalists to do investigative and critical reporting especially in the areas of health, education, extractives and corruption,” Ms. Larbi explained.
She said immediately after the launch, the MFWA will advertise on its website and other media platforms, a call for applications from Ghanaian Journalists who require funding to do investigative reporting on critical developmental issues.
Issued by the MFWA in Accra on March 10, 2014