Honing the investigative skill of female student journalists
The target audience – female student journalists – of the two-day workshop on Promoting Good Governance and Gender Equality through Investigative Journalism Training for Female Student-Journalists in South-West Nigeria is understandable given the outcome of series of studies that decry male domination of newsrooms in many countries of the world.
Specifically, in the preface to Getting the Balance Right: Gender Equality in Journalism, IFJ General Secretary, Aidan White had said, “In many countries, women are strongly represented in the newsrooms but media are still very male dominated when the top positions are examined. Women are marginalized in the news both in the content of the jobs they do and in the opportunities they have to make their way in the profession.
“Fair gender portrayal is a professional and ethical aspiration, similar to respect for accuracy, fairness and honesty. In a world where hard news is still mainly reported and presented by men, journalists need to stand up for gender equality. This equality is not just a women’s issue; everyone benefits from eliminating discrimination.”
And in order to achieve parity in newsrooms that the Media Awareness and Information for all Network (MAIN) in collaboration with the United States Consulate General, Lagos staged the two-day workshop held the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Ojere, Abeokuta.
At the opening ceremony on March 2, 2016, the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Adedayo Adeneye emphasized the need for media and civil society organizations to be vibrant, insisting that attaining good governance will remain a mirage without a committed and independent press “because critical and in-depth reporting, which is what the media is all about, entails the unearthing of violations in all ramifications by government officials, organizations and individuals.
Represented by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr Eshomomo Imoudu, Adeneye said impediments such as the lack of policy backing, effective regulations, insurance, security challenges among others, have adversely hindered journalists from performing their duties effectively.
“A vital ingredient for successful investigative journalism is the strengthening of, and the adherence to the necessary regulations and policies. Here in Nigeria, there is not only the need to resuscitate the comatose Freedom of Information Bill but also to revive the laws of libel and slander. The Executive and the Media, which is the Fourth Estate of the Realm, should be partners in progress in this regard’’. He said.
While appealing to the organisers of the workshop to critically identify and seek ways of addressing impediments to investigative journalism, he also urged participants to take advantage of the workshop and let the knowledge reflect in their professional conduct.
Earlier in her welcome remarks, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, Lagos, Ms Dehab Ghebreab advised participants to effectively utilize the workshop to enhance their performance as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
“Investigative journalism requires a serious work that needs young, vibrant and energetic people to serve as the voice of the people through reportage of news,’’ she added.
Also speaking, Director (MAIN) Professor Lai Oso, said research shows that women are not so involved in journalism which informed his decision to organize the workshop for female student journalists to encourage them on the need to choose journalism as a career.
The Rector, MAPOLY, Prof. O. A. Itiola who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Kayode Soile tasked participants to maximize the opportunity of the workshop. “Given the objectives of this workshop, it is expected that business at this gathering would be taken seriously by all participants and the facilitators to achieve the desired goals and impact. I also urge participants and professionals alike to continue to emphasise your professional core values. It is through such that you will carve a niche for yourself, have recognition and impact society.”
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