International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos has encouraged journalists to priortise women-related issues by focusing on their contributions towards government policies, programmes and actions, adding that journalists should unearth the data published by federal and state agencies on COVID-19 spending for transparency.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a 2-day workshop in Abuja on ‘Using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act for Investigative Reports on Campaign Finance and COVID-19 Accountability Issues’, organised by IPC Lagos, in partnership with Media Rights Agenda (MRA).
The workshop was supported by the European Union through Component 4b: Support to the media of the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Project, being implemented by the IPC.
It was aimed at enhancing the investigative skills of participants through the effective use of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act as a tool to facilitate transparent, free, fair and credible elections as well as monitoring government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and utilization of funds.
IPC recommended that journalists should understand and be guided by the provisions of the FoI act and relevant electoral laws, including the constitution and other extant laws and frameworks during investigative reporting.
The centre enjoined journalists to actively use investigative tools and instruments such as the FoI Act in reporting spending by political parties and where possible, invoke the FoI act to ensure transparency, accountability and respect for human rights
The communique noted that journalists should adhere to the provisions of the electoral act, Nigeria Broadcasting Code (NBC) and the Code of Ethics for Nigerian journalists and provide accurate and balanced coverage of political and election issues.
According to IPC, “Journalists should accord priority to professional self-development and apply for funding for further journalism studies and fellowships around the world, while also networking and partnering with bodies that fund researches”.