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Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors: 2014 Class Profiles

ghIn June 2014, 29 journalists from Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda convened in Kampala for a 10-day course on covering the oil, gas, and mining sectors—part of a six-month training to increase reporters’ knowledge and skills related to extractive issues. Since 2010, five cohorts have been trained by NRGI, in partnership with the African Centre for Media Excellence, in Uganda, the Journalists’ Environmental Association of Tanzania, and Penplusbytes, in Ghana. STAR-Ghana, which works to strengthen transparency, accountability and responsiveness in Ghana, was a fifth sponsor.

GHANA
Adu Koranteng Adu is a business reporter with The New Crusading Guide. In his seven-year journalism career, he has written articles about human trafficking, oil and gas issues, and more. He wants to deepen his understanding of extractives so that he can improve his reporting on governance, economic contributions, opportunities for communities, and resource revenues as a tool to break the cycle of aid dependency.

Dominic Hlordzi Dominic is the senior news editor and assistant manager at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. He says that exposure to new ideas and issues allows for comprehensive, informed, and accurate reporting, especially on a critical sector like extractives. He hopes to use the skills and knowledge acquired during the training not just to better his journalistic work, but also to share this knowledge with his colleagues at work. He also looks forward to deepening his understanding of governance issues in the extractive industry in order to engage stakeholders and dispel misconceptions.

Isaac Aidoo Isaac is a reporter and deputy news editor in charge of business at The Finder. With a journalism career that stretches as far back as 1999, Isaac says a deeper understanding of extractive issues will equip him with better reporting knowledge. He believes that lack of transparency in relation to mining contracts between the government and oil companies has been responsible for illicit financial outflows from several African countries including Ghana. He is convinced that informed reporting is one way to tackle this challenge.

Kodjo Adams Kodjo is a reporter with the Ghana News Agency. In addition to the oil, gas and mining sector, he is interested in reporting on health, sanitation, and development issues. The extractives industry, he says, is new in Ghana, a situation that is not helped by the media’s limited knowledge about the sector. Kodjo believes that the training will equip him with information to adequately educate citizens about extractive revenues, the safety of communities in resource-rich areas, and the economic impact of resource wealth. Kodjo also looks forward to mentoring and sharing his newly acquired knowledge with colleagues in the newsroom.

Kofi Domfeh Kofi is the manager of the business desk and digital content at Luv 99.5 FM. He also reports for Joy 99.7 FM and UK-based WRENMedia. He has recently gained interest in the extractive sector, having previously concentrated on covering agriculture and rural development. Kofi believes that transparency and accountability in the management of Ghana’s oil revenue can only be achieved through quality public debate and engagement, and media can set the agenda by reporting on critical issues in the extractive sector. A deeper understanding of these issues will enable him to engage key audiences through in-depth and accurate reporting, highlighting opportunities in the sector and shedding light on revenue management and its contribution to economic development.

“There are other opportunities for small businesses in East and West Africa to drive economic prosperity….A Ghanaian-run restaurant and bar in Kampala is setting the pace.” Read more.

Malise Otoo Since 2009, has reported for Spy News Agency and also worked with African Review magazine. Because the extractive sector is growing fast and threatening to take over agriculture as the main contributor to Ghana’s gross domestic product, Malise seeks to broaden his understanding and sharpen his writing competence in order to inform citizens about this shift and its impact on their lives. The key question he hopes to ask and answer is why Ghana is still unable to refine its own oil and add value to the crude it produces daily.

Mark Boye Mark has been a senior reporter and sub-editor with The Enquirer since 2006. By learning about the extractive sector, he says he will be able to better explain a sector for which there are huge public expectations. He wants to gain knowledge about how the extractive industry affects different segments of the citizenry, and how they can reap the benefits of oil production and distribution. He looks forward to learning more about the laws governing the sector, such as local content, and the opportunities afforded to people in resource-rich areas.

“Most oil-rich African countries have failed to [meet] the economic challenges confronting them because their citizenry lacks the required capacity to work in the [extractive] sector, especially at the upstream and midstream level.” Read more.

Dadzie Marlvin is the western regional correspondent for The New Crusading Guide. His work as a reporter in an area endowed with mineral and oil deposits has piqued his interest in the extractive sector. Despite four years’ experience, he says he had not fully understood how the sector functions, how accountability is ensured, and how communities in resource-rich areas can get value for money. He hopes that a better understanding of the extractive sector will give him the foundation to report constructively and accurately and in a way that will enlighten communities. He also wants to break down the complicated issues such as regulations, revenue utilization, and the sensitivities around environmental sustainability in mineral-rich areas.

Williams Sheila is a senior business reporter with Business Day and has practiced journalism for five years. Having already covered extractives for over two years, she seeks to deepen her understanding of the industry in order to tell better stories and to interact with journalists who care about the implications of their reporting beyond career advancement. Sheila plans to carry out more investigations into the extractive sector but is aware that this will only be possible with detailed knowledge of how the sector operates. She hopes to share her training and experience with colleagues at work.

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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