African journalists urged to double efforts to fight against corrupt

16Oct 2018
Getrude Mbago
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
African journalists urged to double efforts to fight against corrupt

AFRICAN journalists have been urged to work together in order to mutualise and strengthen efforts to fight against corruption which has continued to surge in the continent.

African Union regional delegate to Southern Africa, SADC and COMESA Secretariat, Dr Leopold Ngomo made the call recently when opening a five-day training workshop in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.

According to him, journalists have a great role to play to derive more passion in investigative reporting by bridging the gap between injustice and inequality aimed at holding those in power accountable.

He advised them to develop collaborative platforms to share information, skills, and resources in the fight against corruption both at national and regional level.

“We are here, not only to refresh or to receive more skills and competences but also to network. Because the fight against the corruption cannot be won in isolation, we should mutualise our efforts, and resources,” he said.

Organised by the African Union - Southern Africa Regional Office (AU-SARO), the training brought together journalists from 12 countries across Africa for a short capacity building course on reporting corruption through investigative journalism.

Under the theme; Winning the Fight Against Corruption: a Sustainable Way to Africa’s Transformation, Dr Ngomo opined that African states would never win the fight against the vice that had for many generations crippled the rich, yet so poor in  continent because it was done in different shapes and forms like NGOs, CSOs, foundations, associations, transnational corporations and development agencies among others with specific agendas of their own, open or hidden.

Dr Ngomo said his organisation’s mandate was therefore to encourage key partners and donors to align their programmes and activities to avoid issues of duplication of efforts, conflict of interest, competition, but pull together in one direction towards the development of Africa.

For her part, editor-in-chief for The Weekly in Mauritius, Touria Prayag said ironically most of the African states had anti-corruption watch dogs, which were either not doing what they were being paid to do or not empowered enough to execute their mandate which allowed those involved in corruption to do so with impunity.

Prayag however warned that fighting corruption through good, ethical journalism has never been an easy job. She said stories involving corruption were usually the most time consuming, risky and in some instances dangerous, but were not immediately rewarding to a journalist.

“Intimidation, harassment, law suits, among others, intended to waste time and discourage further work were some of the challenges journalists had to live with, but should not in any manner prevent journalists from doing their duty towards society,” she added.