By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK (IDN) — The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced 13 grants totalling more than $19.2 million to strengthen local and regional investigative journalism in Nigeria.
The initiative, awarded through the foundation’s Nigeria program, seeks to reduce corruption by supporting Nigerian-led anti-corruption efforts that advance accountability, transparency, and civic participation.
The grants will help organizations provide training for female and young journalists in investigative fieldwork and data-driven reporting. They will assist Nigerian media organizations in the development of sustainable business models and produce fact-checking trackers ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Our Digital News Report survey shows that the vast majority (95%) of our educated English-speaking sample access news weekly via digital and social platforms, well ahead of TV (61%) and print (33%). Across the whole population, however, TV and radio remain the most important sources of news, although internet access is growing fast, and it is estimated that there were around 33 million social media users as of January 2022.
The government has become increasingly worried about digital platforms’ influence in airing grievances, such as the recent #EndSars anti-police violence campaign. Twitter, the fifth most important social network for news in Nigeria, was banned for more than six months after it deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The authorities said the suspension—widely criticized by human rights organizations—was part of a wider response to the ‘use of the platform for activities … capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence’.
Recipients include Bayero University, Kano; Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation; the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; and The Conversation Africa.
“A strong, independent media sector forms the backbone of democracy,” said On Nigeria director Kole Shettima. “This continued support of key media and journalism organizations will deepen, consolidate, and institutionalize anti-corruption reporting at the local and state levels and create more opportunities for the voices of rural people, women, young people, and minority ethnic groups to be heard.” [IDN-InDepthNews — 11 December 2022]
Photo: MacArthur officers Kole Shetima and Amina Saliu. Credit: https://signaturetv.org/
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