United States-based media and governance experts have called on journalists to use the power of investigative journalism in holding to account those in power, while also suggesting solutions to the daily socio-economic challenges facing the citizenry.
International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) deputy vice-president Luis Botello made the call on Wednesday at the centre’s headquarters in Washington DC during an interactive session with 25 journalists from across the globe.
He said since the Watergate scandal in the US between 1972 and 1974, the power of journalism through investigations cannot be overemphasised, as the media is now helping countries to get rid of societal ills.
Said Botello: “Investigative journalism identifies not only problems, but also provides leads to possible solutions, it is more of solutions journalism where the media is now taking a role in providing answers to problems that countries face.
“One thing I need to emphasise is the power of collaboration. If you collaborate with others elsewhere, that story will be published multiple times, and still make a difference.”
Speaking separately on the overview of US federal system, separation of powers, the US political system and democratic structures that promote leadership accountability, governance expert Akram Elias said the media play a greater role in helping people, especially in local governments.
He said: “The media has a huge responsibility. With the use of technology, civil society have their own, citizen journalism is there, all kinds of new enabling tools exist today to track the money and transparency. So they push records, visit the websites, check budgets.”
The journalists, are in the US for a multi-regional project called Edward R. Murrow Programme for Journalists-Research and Investigations, International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) sponsored by the US Department of State.
They are expected to appreciate the role that journalists play in the US as they investigate issues, raise awareness, and inform the public oncorruption, abuse of power, and other issues.
Launched in 1940, the IVLP helps strengthen US engagement with countries around the world.