The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has launched a non-profit, independent investigative journalism project called The Fourth Estate.
The project, emerging out of about three years of planning and brainstorming, is a response to the dearth of critical, analytical, in-depth, and independent journalism in Ghana and in many countries in West Africa.
“As governments continue to tighten the noose on press freedom, amid a prevalence of state, corporate and political capture of media organisations, journalism is increasingly losing its watchdog role. Independent journalism that holds those in authority accountable to the people and fosters transparency and accountability in governance is critical now than ever before across West Africa,” said Abigail Larbi, Programme Manager for the Media and Good Governance Programme at the Foundation.
The Fourth Estate project will, through independent, fact-based journalism, focus on asserting the watchdog role of the media to promote transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption in governance. The project will prioritise quality investigative and in-depth reporting in the areas of governance, environment (especially climate change issues and the extractives sector), health, and human rights.
The Project will also routinely highlight critical issues affecting people’s lives, especially matters of access to public goods and services among the poor and marginalised. Through data-driven and fact-based reporting, the project will contribute to inspiring evidence-based public policy decisions.
A team of young, highly skilled, professional, and passionate journalists who are committed to the values of critical, independent, accountability journalism, has been constituted for the implementation of the project. The team is led by the multiple award-winning Ghanaian investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni.
“I am delighted to see this project take off after nearly three years of planning and consultations with external stakeholders and partners, and brainstorming with colleagues. I am very passionate about the project and confident about the impact it will have on journalism and journalism’s contribution to improving the lives of people and the quality of governance,” said, Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the MFWA.