The Information for Development Trust (IDT) in late September conducted a training seminar for investigative journalists in Harare. The seminar’s objectives included helping the experienced journalists selected to participate in its current project exploring corruption in the public sector to, among other things, appreciate the importance of digital security.
It also sought for the journalists to gain a better understanding of how to plan and sequence an investigative story, understand the hazards associated with investigative journalism and appreciate the opportunities provided by the Zimbabwean constitution for journalists to demand and realise access to information.
Section 62 of the constitution provides that public and private institutions as well individuals have an obligation to provide information, upon request, as long as that information is in the public interest.
This is vital in promoting transparency and accountability in both private and public governance.
With a prevalent culture of opacity, the constitution empowers journalists and other citizens to approach the courts and other relevant departments when they are denied information that is in the public interest.
In addition, the training seminar took the journalists who have in the past participated in investigative story production through the work protocol relating to IDT commissioned stories.
Award winning journalist and editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, Dumisani Muleya trained the journalists, among them Godwin Mangudya, Veneranda Langa, Elias Mambo, Nkosana Dlamini and Garikai Chaunza, on investigative journalism back-to-basics, planning stories,sequencing them and packaging them.
Chris Musodza, a digital communication expert, trained the journalists on how investigative journalists can secure themselves digitally as they research their stories.
Tawanda Majoni, the IDT National Coordinator and veteran journalist, made a presentation on how the selected journalists will operate as well as the opportunities provided by the constitution.
The trained journalists saluted the training seminar and concurred that IDT had provided a brave chance for the media to expose widespread corruption in the public sector.
“On behalf of the participating journalists,” said Mangudya, “I would like to express utmost gratitude to IDT for launching this investigative journalism project and giving us the opportunity to learn new things on how to produce well-researched, credible and evidence-based stories.”
IDT is a non-profit organisation seeking to enhance public and private sector transparency, accountability and integrity by promoting access to information on governance using media-based methods such investigative journalism and ethical research.
It goes beyond the mere production and sharing of information and promotes debate on its findings, monitoring transformative change and advocating for access to information on public and private sector transparency and accountability.-