About 40 citizen journalists drawn from across the country have been equipped with skills and given working tools to produce local content stories from their localities, which will attract policy makers.
After undergoing a three-month intensive training on how to do documentaries on issues affecting the socio-economic development of their communities, the citizen journalists received Sony recorders and accessories, as well as certificates.
The project, dubbed, “Hold my hand documentary project”, is sponsored by Star-Ghana, fund managers.
The selected issues include commercial sex work, female genital mutilation and falling standards of education in rural communities.
Power to citizens
At the climax of the training workshop in Accra, the chief facilitator of the project, who doubles as Citi FM’s Director of Operations, Mr Bernard Avle, said he was satisfied with the participants’ enthusiasm.
Describing the project as a personal sense of fulfilment, he said, “We are giving power to citizens to tell their own stories for duty bearers and our leaders to listen, pay attention and act.”
He inspired the participants to make a difference in their chosen career, saying, “I am very positive about how passionate these young people are about their country; how concerned they were when they started doing their research and interviewing people and how determined they are to tell stories for the public to see that we still have a lot to do to deliver social and economic development to our people.”
He commended Star-Ghana for allocating funds to support the project and gave the assurance that the organisation would have value for its money.
First batch of beneficiaries
Mr Avle said by June 2014, Citi FM would start playing the first batch of 15 documentaries from different communities across the country.
The Managing Director of Citi FM, Mr Samuel Atta Mensah, asked the participants to cultivate the habit of extensive reading and listening to news makers.
He also admonished journalists to be truthful and shun politicians who made conscious attempts to coerce the media to serve their interest at all cost.
Make a mark
“Discover yourselves in the industry by registering your presence and make sure you become relevant in the market; don’t over-concentrate on politicians to give you the news; always tell the truth at all cost and shun politicians who might attempt to use you for their selfish gains,” he said.
According to him, understanding the local market, history and the prevailing culture of the society where journalists operated are the cardinal principles of good journalism.
The project forms part of Citi FM’s determination to pick information from a wider choice of official and unofficial sources, instead of only from the agenda-driven conventional media organisations.
This paradigm shift comes in the wake of calls to have a strong, vibrant news media in Ghana to assist in promoting transparency, accountability and social justice in rural communities.
The live documentaries will be broadcast on Citi FM and its affiliate stations nationwide.
The initiative will seek to educate and empower rural dwellers to actively participate in the national dialogue.
Some of the participants, including Mashoud Kombat from the Northern Region, Kojo Brifo from the Brong Ahafo Region, Hawa Iddrisu from the Ashanti Region, Graham Mackintosh from the Volta Region and Obrimpong Ampofo from the Western Region, admitted that they had benefited a lot from the training.
They called for more of such interventions to improve their skills.