The Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) in collaboration with Internews over the weekend concluded a three day Freedom of Information Investigative Journalism Training for Liberian journalists in Robertsport City, Grand Cape Mount County.
The training brought together 25 Freedom of Information Story Grant Fellows that have been working with CEMESP and Internews under the Liberia Media Initiative project co-funded by the European Union.
At the workshop, each of the fellows received one-on-one mentorship on intensive FOI investigative reporting and drafting stories for publication.
Speaking at the official opening in Robertsport City last wednesday, CEMESP’s Executive Director Malcolm Joseph said the training is geared towards advancing Liberia’s Freedom of Information regime from the critical perspective of an in-depth investigative reporting that makes use of the FOI law itself.
“Today we are meeting here again to have a reflection on stories worked on and develop additional ones that take into account how we can advance FOI” Malcolm noted.
According to him, the workshop will additionally “enhance the relationship between mentors and the mentees who have a task of producing real-time stories that buy the public’s trust”
He thanked the European Union and Internews for the support and added that his group-CEMESP is happy for such a partnership that continues to make an impact on Liberia’s Journalism Community”
The training, which was mostly technical, helped the fellows draft story ideas and file FOI requests with public and private entities that perform a public function.
This activity is part of the bigger Liberia Media Initiative project aimed at ensuring increased demand for use of Liberia’s Freedom of Information Law.
Internews’ LMI Project Director Samukai Konneh described the gathering as a technical training session where journalists would acquire “hands-on” skills and support to develop interesting articles.
According to him the three day technical gathering will empower the grant fellows to enhance their investigative and reporting skills-thereby making them more vibrant.
“This is why we brought you out of Montserrado, to make sure we get all of your attention and allow you to concentrate on your story ideas”, Samukai told the FOI story grant fellows in Robertsport.
The training covers topics like FOI Requests- Content and Layout, Drafting of News Story Ideas, Completion of Existing Draft Stories among others.
The EU-funded project under which the FOI Story Grant Fellowships fall targets several deliverables including, Fact-checking, FOI Public Engagements both physical and radio, etc.
Already CEMESP has worked with the Independent Information Commission to hold more than 18 radio shows, reactivate three regional Freedom of Information hubs, and as well held three public FOI engagements in Bong, Grand Bassa, and Bomi counties.
There have been more than three FOI administrative training conducted for county information officers, Public information, and Public relations officers on the subject matter of how to handle requests for information, coordinate response, and ensure active record keeping.