Africa Director, MAF, Kole Shettima said that the funds were aimed at providing assistance to journalists, civil society actors, and the private sector to actively get involved in the fight against corruption.
Represented by Dayo Olaide, Deputy Country Director, MAF, Shettima stated this at a media training organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was held in collaboration with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG) in Abuja.
“We always remind our partners and their associates of their involvement in the anti corruption fight to understand the risk that lies ahead, because corruption will always fight back.
“So, the foundation is working with a series of grantees, providing trainings, field assistance to do the work and also providing assistance where threats to your person or family may arise.
“Recently, we came together with three other foundations to set up what we refer to as civil defence funds .
“It aims at providing assistance to journalists, civil society actors, private sector actors that are actively involved in the fight against corruption that may come under attack.
“Whether the attacks are state sponsored or they are attacks from private individuals, as a result of speaking out or exposing corruption .’’
Shettima said that the fund was available to all Nigerians and encouraged journalists to draw the attention of their colleagues within the sector, who may be facing one attack or the other .
“This is just one of those measures the foundation has put in place to be able to provide protection for you ,’’he said.
Shettima advised journalists that beyond the training, they should put the skills acquired into valuable use so that there could be an increase in the number of investigative work and improvement in the quality of investigative journalism in the country.
Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Chido Onumah, represented by Senior Program Officer, Godwin Onyeacholem, said the training aimed at strengthening the support for whistle blowers, experiencing retaliations.
Onumah said AFRICMIL had since 2017, been working on a project tagged: ‘Corruption Anonymous (CORA)’ with the support of the MacArthur Foundation and designed to build public confidence and support for the whistleblower policy .
He said that as part of the activities for achieving a desirable outcome for the CORA project, AFRICMIL had been organising training programmes and stakeholder meetings for the past four years .
“It is in furtherance of deepening this component of activities lined up for this project that this media training is being organised purposely for journalists selected from the print and electronic media.
“AFRICMIL believes that by the nature of their job, journalists are also whistleblowers and so should have as much stake, if not more, than any agency.
” This is to not only entrench a culture of speaking up against wrongdoing, but also in the practice of standing up for anyone facing reprisals for doing so.”
The Programme Manager, PRIMORG, Adaobi Obiabunmuo, called on journalists not to give up on fighting corruption using whistleblowing and investigative journalism tools.
Obiabunmuo advised media practitioners to get in touch with CSOs on behalf of the whistleblowers being victimised to get legal services.
One of the workshop facilitators, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Deputy Editor, Daily Trust Newspapers, encouraged journalists to engage in investigative work, guided by journalism ethics.
“Media people should always fear God and ensure that there fidelity is to truth and it is also to the country and what is right.
“We should avoid anything unethical or compromising; we should not also compromise our sources of information from good members of the society, if we work with that we will find the solution to corruption in our country ,”he said.