Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director of the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), has called for the establishment of a grant fund for journalists to support investigative journalism and enhance the media’s effectiveness in the fight against corruption.
He said in order to make any meaningful headway in the fight against corruption, there was the need for an independent fund that journalists can access to fund their investigative works.
Mr. Nyarko, a veteran investigative journalist and multiple award winner, made this call when he was asked the way forward in the fight against corruption during a panel discussion on a“Forum on the Media and Corruption” organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa with funding support from DW Akademie.
The call for the grant fund received massive support from Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner of CHRAJ who was the chairman for the occasion when he made his closing remarks as well as Mr. Tirso Dos Santos, UNESCO Country Representative to Ghana.
He said oftentimes, journalists are unable to investigate issues of corruption that come up owing to lack of funds and logistical constraints and was hopeful that with the setting up of an investigative journalism fund, investigative journalists would be able to carry out their investigations in a timely and efficient manner.
Mr. Nyarko in a follow up interview said sometimes investigative reports stay in the public discourse for a few weeks and disappear because there is no sustained and timely follow up to move the issues raised in the reports from exposure to prosecution and the implementation of reforms.
He said this is largely because journalists are unable to afford the cost of investigations as their under-resourced media organizationsare also unable to fund more than one investigative report at a time or do not fund one at all which presents a challenge that needs to be looked at very critically.
Mr. Nyarko reiterated that in order to address these challenges by ensuring that corruption cases are pursued from exposure to prosecution and implementation of reforms, an investigative journalism fund would be a step in the right direction to promote a sustained reportage on the issues of corruption.
He further added that the fund would also be used for capacity building workshops for journalists in order to provide them with the necessary skills and techniques for a more enhanced investigative journalism.