A new and unique Investigative Journalism (IJ) project has been launched in Harare with the view to expose the growing cancer of corruption which is reportedly costing the country billions of dollars in lost revenue.
BY STAFF REPORTER
The project is being run by Information for Development Trust (IDT), a new non-profit making organisation promoting access to information through media-based methods so as to enhance transparency and accountability in both public and private sectors.
The IJ project focuses on public sector corruption and involves various teams of experienced newsroom-based and freelance journalists who will produce evidence-based and thoroughly researched investigative stories.
Speaking at the launch at the Quill Club on Friday, IDT chairperson, Reyhana Masters said the Investigative Journalism Project was coming at a time Zimbabwe was crying for a vibrant platform through which credible, in-depth journalism can be realised in order to enhance access to information on the public sector.
“It must be noted, though, that the public sector does not have monopoly over corruption and, naturally, our initiatives will focus on non-State processes and systems too,” she said.
The other IDT board members are Israel Mabhande, Precious Chakasikwa, Forster Dongozi and Chris Chinaka. Tawanda Majoni is the national coordinator.
The organisation also said its current IJ project was a pacesetter for a bigger programme. The IDT is working on establishing a centre for IJ that will, with time, expand into southern Africa.
The launch was graced by a broad spectrum of stakeholders who included editors, journalists, legislators and representatives of civil society. Present at the launch were MPs Paurina Mpariwa, who chairs the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and Kindness Paradza, who sits in the Parliamentary Portfolio on Media, Information and Communication Technology.
Mpariwa in her solidarity message urged IDT to robustly engage her committee in the fight against corruption.
“This Investigative Journalism project is a noble and vital initiative. We need to work with such an institution as IDT in order to ensure that corruption is checked and we will always be available to offer any assistance that you need,” Mpariwa said.
Paradza bemoaned the general lack of well-researched and investigative stories among journalists.
“We hope, therefore, that IDT’s investigative reporting programme will help resuscitate reliable, factual and in-depth journalism,” Paradza said.
The project is working on establishing synergies with established mainstream media in order to ensure maximum impact of its investigative products that will be shared with the media, civil society, government departments, lawmakers and policy makers who will come together to discuss the stories.