Fourteen journalists and correspondents from four Namibian community radios namely, NBC !AH Radio, Base FM, Ohangwena Community Radio and Radio Live FM were trained on investigative journalism from 13 to 15 October 2015 .
The journalists were equipped with an understanding of investigative journalism and how it differs and complements conventional news reporting. They were also capacitated with the necessary skills to conduct investigative journalism and explored different methods and tools that can be used in investigative journalism.
Prominent investigative journalist from The Namibian Newspaper, Mr. Tileni Mongudhi, conducted the workshop and imparted to the participants practical skills of conducting investigative journalism. He also provided practical examples demonstrating how the right to access information is still denied to journalists by public authorities in Namibia.
In terms of ethics, participants were guided through the Code of Ethics for the Namibian Media. It was emphasised that investigative journalists must uphold high ethical standards. Some of the key ethical considerations discussed included accurate reporting, corrections, the right to reply, conflict of interest, management of sources, public interest, privacy issues, harassment and safeguarding the dignity of the journalism profession.
With regards to the use of special investigative techniques such as misrepresentation and undercover reporting, it was highlighted that the use of such methods can be justified only in the public interest and only when material cannot be obtained by any other means. Journalists were thus encouraged not to generally obtain or seek to obtain information through misrepresentation or deception.
Participants appreciated the workshop saying it demystified the whole concept of investigative journalism. They said it instilled a sense of duty in their minds, particularly letting the public know the truth.
One participant, Ms. Janet Kauina from Base FM said, “After this course, I feel like a real journalist, ready to expose all wrongdoings and let the public know the truth”.
“What I grasped from this workshop is that as journalists, we must play our watchdog role and let the people know the truth,” she added.
Ms. Katrina Cwi, a journalist for NBC !ah Radio in Tsumkwe said that the training provided her with important skills that she will use to tackle critical issues often ignored in her community. According to Cwi, some of the serious but ignored issues in Tsumkwe include cases of disabled kids without parents who do not receive adequate support and often denied a basic education.
“These issues are pertinent in our community yet we have never dug deeper to understand for example where the support meant for the disabled kids is going or why they are not adequately catered for,” she said.
The workshop was organized within the framework of the UNESCO/SIDA funded project, “Empowering local radios with ICTs”. Through this project, UNESCO has built the capacities of local radios in Namibia in various areas including basic radio journalism, management of community radios, gender-sensitive reporting and sustainability of the radio stations.