By Joy Odor
Journalists have been enjoined to activate the tenets of the Freedom of Information Act FOI, to ensure a robust coverage of political issues in the country.
This advice was given at a Media Training Workshop for Journalists tagged Using the Freedom of Information Act ( FOI) for Investigative Reports on Campaign Finance and Covid-19 Accountability Issues organized by the International Press Centre in partnership with European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
In his opening address, the Executive Director of the International Press Center (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the goal of the Workshop was to sensitize Journalists to improving the accountability of governments across all levels, to the people through the use of the FOI Act.
He added that it has become imperative for Journalists to understand the importance of usage of the FOI Act to build capacity of Journalists/Media agencies and the need to use FOI to hold public holders accountable to the people.
In his Presentation titled Understanding and Reporting Campaign Finance and Political Expenditure Frameworks and Issues, the Executive Director of OJA Development Consult Mr. Jide Ojo, highlighted the various laws governing electoral campaign financing and the importance of Journalists seeking and researching knowledge on campaign finance to enable them report factually and accurately.
Also, a renowned Freelance Investigative Journalist Ms. Tobore Ovuorie in her presentation titled Using Investigative Reporting Techniques to Monitor Compliance with Campaign Finance and Political Expenditure Regulations, expatiate several ways and skills needed for Journalists who want to make an impact and cause positive change in the polity through investigative Journalism.
There were lectures on how Journalists can investigate campaign financing, various Processes of conducting successful investigative Journalism with the use of the FOI Act, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act.
The need for inclusion of all strata of the society in Media coverage was also emphasized for Journalists to imbibe.
The two days workshop holding in Lagos had in attendance a cross section of seasoned and investigative Journalists drawn from different parts of the country.