The 7-day workshop on“Empowering the Media to Play an Active Watchdog Role over Mining Oil and Gas Revenue and Resources” has been launched in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia by the USA Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency Deborah R. Malac with the call on the media to report accurately on the sector. She noted that “incomplete or inaccurate reporting of developments in these sensitive sectors can sometimes inadvertently inflame tensions and complicate reaching consensus”.
The workshop organized by International Institute for ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) in association with the National Black Programming Consortium and funding from Humanity United is to build the competencies of the participants to better report on the sector.
Madam Malac said revenues from the oil, gas, and mineral sectors are notoriously difficult for governments to manage effectively and therefore urged the media to focus on the extractive industry to promote transparency.
The President of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II in his opening remarks said “the 7 day workshop is designed to introduce practicing journalists to key issues surrounding Oil, Gas and Mining thereby helping them to develop the knowledge and skills to stimulate and feed public debate on how best to ensure that proceeds are used in the interests of their country and its citizens”. Mr. Ahiabenu added, “our organization started working in the extractive sector in 2007 with the discovery of oil in Ghana and since 2010 we have been working with Revenue Watch Institute to expand our work to Uganda and Tanzania. We can count Nigeria, Cameroun and Cote d’Ivoire as some of our key countries of experience in the oil and gas sector and we are excited today to add Liberia to our countries of focus.”
The project is made up of a training workshop, field trip to mining communities of Nimba and a civil society day forum where key civil society actors such Publish What You Pay, Sustainable Development Institute and Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative will be discussing “Harnessing Liberia’s Extractive Resources for Economic Development”.The media civil society Forum is designed to facilitate oil and gas information and knowledge exchange between the media and Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) to create effective opportunities for national dialogue on key oil and gas revenue management issues.
Top mining, oil and gas experts including Vulate J. Hage, Assistant Professor of Law-University of Liberia, Mohammed Amin Adam, Director Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP),Senior Senator Cletus WotorsonChair – Joint Committee on Oil and Energy Senate of Liberia,Karl Cottrell ,Country Manager, Chevron Liberia, Maureen Sieh of IREX among others are providing insights during this learning opportunity.Participants for the workshop are journalists drawn from various media organizations in Liberia, including, The Heritage, New Dawn Newspaper, Hot Fm 107.9, Liberian Observer Corporation/Daily Observer, Liberia Women Democracy Radio 99.1 and the Informer
Penplusbytes established in 2001 seeks to empower the media through the use of ICTs to advance the course of journalism in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations and oil, gas and mining.
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