Accra, May 29, GNA – African Means Business Project, a United Kingdom (UK) based media organization, is training eight Ghanaian journalists on economic and financial reporting to improve public debate on finance and business issues.
The three-day course, being organised at the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, also brought together eight economists who would swap skills with the eight journalists.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Chacha Mwita, Project Coordinator, said African Means Business was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and run by Thomson Media Foundation, a UK-based media development agency.
He said other partners in the project include Oxford University’s Centre for the Study of African Economies, the Financial Times’ Wincott Foundation and the Africa Economic Research Consortium.
Mr Mwita said the idea was for journalists to learn from the economists on how to ask searching questions of governments and companies about financial matters.
On the other hand the economists would learn how to translate their ideas into language that would make their messages more attractive to the mass media, sparking greater public debate on economic issues.
Mr Mwita said the idea was that, in the end, there would be more knowledge available to help the public hold politicians and companies to account.
He said similar projects had been launched at the Nairobi Strathmore Business School, Kenya.
By the end of 2013, a total of 32 journalists and 32 economists would have taken part across the two countries, Mr Mwita said, and urged participants to take the course seriously.
Mark Webster, a former Africa correspondent of the Financial Times, who was a resource person, said the results from the first cohort in Kenya were very encouraging.
The course would give journalists the confidence to launch new programmes to discuss and report on economic issues, and for the economists to translate research findings on corruption into a widely-acclaimed newspaper article, he said.
Mr Webster said: “Our aim is for the project to have a lasting impact on the way economic issues are discussed in Ghana and Kenya and eventually across Africa”.
Dr Fritz Gockel, Head of Department of Economics, University of Ghana, emphasized the need for governments and business enterprises to do more to provide information to media outlets to tell Africa’s fair and balanced story.
He urged journalists to develop interest in economic and financial reporting instead of concentrating on political issues.
Professor Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh, former Director of the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, urged journalists to ensure fair, accurate and balanced reportage.
He said journalists and media workers must be guided by the ethics of the profession at all times.
Prof Ansu-Kyeremeh said media houses and institutions must be willing to invest in capacity building and the welfare of their employees to get a positive return on profit from their business.