As part of activities to end the year, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, has organized a media conference for journalists across the nation on ‘media and its role in public accountability.’
The ceremony which is billed to hold by 10am on November 24, 2021, at Sandralia Hotel, Abuja, also incorporates an award ceremony for the best journalists.
This is the second training the ICIR will be organizing for journalists this year, 2021. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event would be both physical and virtual.
According to ICIR senior program officer, Agema Gloria, the proposed conference amongst other activities will examine the Centre’s five years journey in promoting accountability in the public sector through its Open Contract Reporting OCR project supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
Agema said “in the last five years, the ICIR has built the capacity of over 200 journalists across newsrooms in Nigeria to report on the budget and procurement processes with a view to enhancing the integrity of the public contracts. Through the OCR project, several groundbreaking investigative reports have been published, many of which have helped to bring about reforms in procurement processes.
“At this time, we would like to take the issues beyond the published investigations and the work of the reporters and have a conversation on the capacity of the media in Nigeria to play its constitutionally assigned role of holding government and its institutions to account.
“With this event, we want to find answers to some critical questions. Do the media have the resources, skills and manpower to play its constitutionally apportioned role? Is the media not also part of the problem, with its own internal issues, chief of which is corruption? Can the media realistically play this role against the backdrop of media ownership and the financial realities that threaten media sustainability in Nigeria?
“These and many more questions we hope would be addressed at the conference by our esteemed keynote speaker and panelists, which comprises respected media professionals from newsrooms and the academia.”
She added that “the event will feature a keynote address titled “Is the Nigerian Media Equipped to Hold Government Accountable,” to be delivered by Martins Oloja, Managing Director and Editor -in -Chief of the Guardian newspaper. This would be followed by a robust panel discussion.
“The ceremony also incorporates an award ceremony for the best journalists on our Open Contract Reporting Project and a mini-documentary showcasing the OCR projects five-year journey in promoting accountability in Nigeria’s contracting processes.”