African journalists attend extractive industry workshop

African JournalistsAbout 28 journalists from three African countries are participating in a 10-day training programme in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on how to report effectively on the oil, gas and mining sectors .
The training programme, organised by Revenue Watch Institute, is to offer journalists from Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda, the opportunity to expand and deepen their knowledge on the extractive industry.

Dr George Lugalambi, Media Programme Officer, Revenue Watch Institute, said the workshop was to introduce the journalists to critical issues about the exploration, management and utilization of oil, gas and mineral resources.

He said it was also to help the media to develop or reinforce the knowledge and skills to stimulate and feed public debates on how best to ensure that proceeds from these resources were used in the interest of the countries from which they were extracted.

“It offers access to a range of sources with the hope that journalists will use their journalistic skills to develop their understanding of the subject and produce reports that shed light on important issues that often go unreported,” Dr Lugalambi said.

He said the programme was an ideal opportunity to link the three countries and their oversight institutions together in order ‘’to multiply their individual strengths into a collective impact on the governance of their extractive industries.’’

Mr Nick Phythian, a Facilitator from the Thompson Reuters Foundation, said the role of the media was important in shaping transparency and accountability in the extractive industries.

“We need to set the agenda for discussion on issues affecting the industries,” he added.

Mr Phythian urged journalists to develop partnerships with each other on the continent to better educate the public on the operations in the industry.

Mr Fred Avornyo, a Facilitator from the Institute for ICT Journalism, Penplusbytes, charged journalists to question multi-nationals companies operating in Africa who evade tax and go unpunished.

He called on the media to monitor the exploration of natural resources to benefit the country.

Mr Avornyo said “African journalists need to specialize in various fields to better understand the issues and report adequately for the development of the continent.”

The workshop is the fourth of ongoing media training programme conducted in partnership with Ghana-based Penplusbytes, Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania, African Centre for Media Excellence in Uganda, and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ghanaian journalists participating in the training unclud the Ghana News Agency’s Morkporkpor Anku, the BBC’s Akwasi Sarpong, Malik Abass Daabu of Myjoyonline.com, Daily Graphic’s Moses Aklorbortu, and Emelia Ennin of the Daily Guide newspaper. GNA

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