The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and its national Partner for Burkina Faso, the Norbert Zongo Press Centre and the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have set up a regional Centre for Investigative Journalism in West Africa.
The regional investigative journalism Centre, which will be named after the late iconic Burkinabe investigative journalist, Norbert Zongo, will be known as the Nobert Zongo Centre for Investigative Journalism and by its French acronym, CENOZO. It will be hosted by the Nobert Zongo Press Centre, Burkina Faso.
This follows a two-day conceptualisation meeting on July 8 and 9, at the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou. The meeting involved West Africa’s leading investigative journalists including Ghana’s Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Allen Yero Embalo of Guinea Bissau and Niger’s Ibrahim Manzo Diallo.
The aim of the Centre is to contribute to promoting high-level investigative journalism that will contribute to fighting corruption, human rights violations and organised crime in the West Africa region. It will also help to network and empower investigative journalists in the region as well as offer legal assistance and other forms of support to promote the safety of investigative journalists.
The Executive Director of the MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, who participated in the two-day conceptualisation meeting, described the initiative as one that was long overdue.
“There has been significant progress in press freedom and freedom of expression in West Africa during the last decade. The public in West Africa are now looking for professional, independent journalism that can contribute significantly to the fight against corruption, bad governance and organised crime, which are stifling the progress of the region,” said Sulemana Braimah. “The media can play a critical role in promoting good governance and peace in West Africa and investigative journalism is what is most required to serve that purpose.”
At the end of the two-day meeting, the first Board of Directors for the Centre, made up of prominent journalists from the region was constituted. The Board is chaired by investigative journalist, Allen Yero Embalo of Guinea Bissau. The Centre is open to receive investigative journalists in West Africa as members.