The 2018 edition of the West Africa Conference on Investigative Journalism is currently taking centre-stage in the capital city of Ghana, Accra.
The two-day event is organised and sponsored by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).
In its first day, the conference had in attendance over 40 journalists from West Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries.
Suleiman Braimah, the Executive Director of MFWA, in his opening remark, emphasised the importance of the conference.
He charged the journalists to do more in holding governments accountable in the region.
“Citizens are denied right to access to information. Journalists in West Africa have a lot to do. It is therefore important that we convene to exchange ideas, discuss challenges, brainstorm on what we can do together to ensure we hold duty bearers accountable.
“West Africa still has a deficit in terms of quality of leadership. You ask yoursels why are people still living in deprivation. It’s because of deprivation.
“We as journalists are not there yet. Those before us fought for democracy, we need to do more. It is difficult to do investigative journalism in this region, if you are doing (that) already, you are a model.”
The country director of DW Akademe, Beate Weides noted that the kind of challenges people face in the region requires “a special set of journalists to investigate”.
“We need special kind of journalists to dig deeper. We need fearless journalists who won’t be bogged down with the everyday story. We need journalists who spend months and years to tell quality stories.”
Shortly after her speech, the conference was formally declared open by a Ghanaian veteran journalist and diplomat, Kabral Ahimere who enjoined journalists to consolidate on the gains of democracy through their reporting.
The first day featured sessions on the state of investigative journalism in Africa, building safety nets for investigative journalism in West Africa and cross border investigative journalism including lessons from West Africa Leaks and Panama Papers.
The conference continues today with sessions on fact-checking, driving impact for investigative reporting and forging regional collaboration for cross-border investigations among other activities.