MFWA STUDY ON MEDIA COVERAGE OF TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
22. August 2018|
22. August 2018|
Senegalese journalists and media outlets have a strong interest in issues related to corruption and accountability, yet there are very few investigative stories published. A new report from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) explored the reasons behind this inconsistency, and assessed the level and quality of media coverage of issues of corruption, accountability, and transparency in public affairs management in Senegal.
The methodology for this study was divided into three parts. The first included monitoring editorial content earlier this year for 14 days – 19 February to 3 March 2018 – based on media outlets that address topical issues and have significant audience numbers. Secondly, the methodology equally assessed the quality of coverage, and included interviews with journalists from the target media outlets to evaluate their experiences and skills in covering governance issues. Lastly, 10 representatives from civil society organisations in Senegal were interviewed to sample their opinions on the media’s coverage of issues on transparency and accountability.
Overall, the study arrived at several conclusions. Majority of journalists cover issues related to corruption and transparency in their daily work. Unfortunately, however, most media practitioners, about two-thirds, had no formal training and have not acquired enough skills to effectively cover such complex issues. As a result of the lack of basic knowledge or skills, many journalists in Senegal do not undertake investigations. Furthermore, they do not possess the tools to analyse certain technical information. For this reason, governmental sources and other institutional reports are considered the ultimate authority. This demonstrates how the lack of skills undermines the media’s role in providing oversight and accountability. In turn, citizens perceive that this weakness results from pitfalls in the initial training journalists had and the absence of opportunities to improve their skills.
Most of the interviewees suggested that media in their capacity as key stakeholders in promoting good governance must step up their activities geared towards fighting corruption.
MFWA recommended the following steps:
Read the full report on MFWA’s website