Deploy Precision Journalism To Uncover Graft, SERAP Urges Reporters
Deploy Precision Journalism To Uncover Graft, SERAP Urges Reporters – Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has charged journalists to utilize the instrumentality of investigation to uncover grand corruption in Nigeria.
Executive director of the Lagos-based rights group, Adetokunbo Mumuni, made the call yesterday at a media training and presentation of its latest publication entitled ‘Uncovering Corruption in Nigeria: A Manual for Investigative Journalists’.
The manual was presented by renowned journalist and human rights activist, Richard Akinnola, at an interactive session for investigative journalists from across Nigeria at the CitiHeight Hotel, Lagos.
Mumuni extolled the media’s contribution to socio-economic development and urged journalists not to relent in the overall objective of making the society better.
The training and the publication, he said, were part of SERAP’s efforts to further equip journalists on the onerous task of ensuring national development through investigative reports.
Akinnola noted the inalienable right of the public to access information, which is of public concern, stressing that the media were the agents of the public to collect the information and disseminate it. He, however, lamented the dearth of investigative journalism in Nigeria and called for its revival.
On the vexed issue of intimidation of the media to disclose their source of information, Akinnola warned that journalists should not be compelled to disclose their source, neither by means of discovery by trial, by questions or cross-examination at the trial nor by subpoena.
According to him, the honeypot of any investigative journalist is his source. “A journalist has to develop and cultivate sources and this takes time because confidence-building is very crucial.”
“The Code of Ethics for Nigerian journalists, known as the 1998 Ilorin Declaration, states inter alia: A journalist should observe the universally-accepted principle of confidentiality and should not disclose the source of information obtained in confidence.
“A strong cardinal principle of journalism, which a trainee reporter first learns in school is the protection of the source of his information. Like medical and legal practitioners owe it a duty to protect the confidentiality of their patients and clients respectively, the journalist too owes it a duty not to disclose his source of information under any circumstance.
“However, more often than not, there are clashes between ethical and legal concepts as regards disclosure of sources of information, a situation that has led to litigations by aggrieved newspapers who feel duty-bound to keep their sources of information,” he added.