!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Investigative Journalism Training in Tanzania

Monday, March 02, 2009

Investigative Journalism Training in Tanzania

You can get a good picture of the nature of investigative journalism (IJ) by looking at how the needed skills are taught in a context in which combatting corruption is an especially critical aspect of strengthening civil society.

The context I have in mind is that of developing countries. The example of organized training I'd offer is a toolkit for facilitators (pdf) developed in Tanzania by Pact, a non-profit organization based in Washington DC that helps organizations in developing countries with technical assistance, capacity building, and monetary grants.

Pact's stated mission is:
to build empowered communities, effective governments and responsible private institutions that give people an opportunity for a better life. We do this by strengthening the capacity of organizations and institutions to be good service providers, represent their stakeholders, network with others for learning and knowledge sharing, and advocate for social, economic and environmental justice. Interdependence, responsible stewardship, inclusion of vulnerable groups, and respect for local ownership and knowledge are core values across all of our programs.
The specific goal of Pact's IJ training is to achieve "increased media scrutiny [that] will contribute to improved accountability, tranparency and good governnance at the national and local levels."

In developing the IJ training and the associated facilitator's manual, Pact collaborated with the Tanzanian chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), an NGO whose aim is "to promote a free, independent and pluralistic press in Tanzania." Funding came from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation and USAID. The training effort began in December 2006, and the manual was published in September 2008.

The first chapter of the manual defines IJ, discusses how it works and its advantages, looks at how to identify stakeholders (e.g., councilors, district council officials, media, civil society organizations, and influential community members), details the principles of ethical conduct when pursuing IJ, and explains the concept and methodology of Public Expenditure Tracking Systems (PETS), a "follow the money" approach to holding governments accountable for how funds are budgeted and utilized. (The governments in question are typically at the local level.)

The second chapter deals with corruption. It defines corruption, describes the two major types — petty corruption and grand corruption, explores causes and effects of corruption, and discusses how to respond to corruption via prevention, education, institution building, and legal enforcement.

The third chapter deals with good governance. It defines good governance, explores its various aspects (transparency, accountability, honesty, adherence to the rule of law, protection of human rights, separation of powers), and discusses the connections between politics and good governance.

The fourth chapter covers the role of IJ in anti-corruption efforts and strengthening of governance, discusses starting points for investigative journalists looking to uncover corruption and governance problems (and successes), and explains how to identify possible stakeholders (i.e., sources).

Pact Tanzania provides its take on the outcome of the IJ training effort here.