Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Journalists To Make Alleged Crimes Committed Public- Anton Harber

Anton Harber, Editor-in Chief of South Africa’s Enca Television has said the role of investigative journalists is to make alleged crimes committed public. He made the remark at the start of the 2016 edition of the African Investigative Journalism Conference, AIJC ,that took place in Johannesburg from November 7-9, 2016.

He said the cross boarder approach in investigative journalism has born lots of fruits. 

He cited the case of Russia, Algeria and South Africa where the press has been very instrumental in holding those in authority and power accountable, through the exposure of unorthodox practices.

“Through the Panama Papers, the world has been  informed about the illicit flow of six trillion US dollars out of Africa for the past 50 years. Due to investigations carried out by the press, institutions of accountability are being tasted in SA and those in power are being held to render accounts,” he said.

It emerged from the event that saw the presence of 300 media practitioners from 28 countries the world over, 

that journalists in some African countries have so far under-exploited the Panama papers and WikiLeaks and that there was need for journalists to further investigations.

There were observations that the people in corrupt countries can’t protest against the theft of public funds because they support the embezzlers. It was also observed that advocacy groups never played their roles even in situation where the press denounced tax avoidance and evasion.

For three, days the journalists who attended the conference organized by the Journalism Department of the University of the Witwatersrand, 

were drilled on data journalism, how to protect data on their computers, physical security training, cross border collaborations, working undercover, twitting, , surviving as a free-lance journalists, investigations in Francophone Africa, reporting with mobile phones, bullet proofing stories from legal attacks, among others. 

The efforts of a Mozambican assassinated journalist, Carlos Cardoso, who was investigating financial and political fraud were hailed  by exiled Burundian journalist Bob Rugurika, when he presented the Carlos Cardoso Memorial lecture. 

Bob explained how more than 200 journalists have been forced on exile in his country. In his own words " If journalist do their work well we can make the world better. "
Other speakers during the conference included Jorge Luis Sierra of the International Center for Journalists, Ron Nixon of the New York Times, Multimedia Journalist,  Zoe Flood, George Turna and many more in almost 70 lectures.

Cameroonian award winning investigative journalist, Christian Locka, who went undercover to report illicit trade in diamonds in Cameroon and the Central African Republic, said the security of journalists remains primordial. “Undercover reporting is a very risky operation 

and the media practitioner needs to know much about the subject and work with an experienced team Undercover reporting is not for fame or getting awards but should be used when traditional methods could not work,” he adviced.

"What I found interesting was data journalism. I run a website and it was important to know how to gather and keep data. I learnt that we must not just interview people but use our computer skills to generate data. Numbers too are very important in reporting,” recounted Jose Maneira from Mozambique.   According to Brian Khumalo of Zimbabwe the importance of networking is what caught his attention.

“It was a great thing to hook up with guys from all over the continent. Sharing stories is quite a formidable system of networking. 

The event was so successful and I wish it is held more often not just once a year. We need to hook up and share stories and strengthen journalism. 

We need to share a lot work together for the good of the continent,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment