In a bid to enhance the professional capacity and investigative reporting skills of journalists in the Republic of Niger, the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) is partnering with L’ Evenement Niger to organise a three-day capacity building workshop on conflict and security reporting for journalists and media professionals in the country. L’Evenement Niger is a news organisation that provides news and information on various topics such as politics, economy, security, and society. Located in Niamey, Niger, they produce quality investigative pieces on issues related to good governance, transparency, and human rights.

With funding support from the Open Society Foundation – Africa, the three-day media workshop is aimed at deepening the knowledge of journalists, not just to tell compelling stories about the contextual realities in the Lake Chad basin but also to shine a spotlight on the issues and challenges facing those who are affected by these realities. The training is also aimed at equipping Nigerien journalists with professional skills for context-sensitive investigative reporting and interpretative journalism for solution-driven coverage of human rights abuses in the Basin.

The Director of Programmes at the CJID, Mr. Akintunde Babatunde, noted that the partnership with L’ Evenement Niger is pertinent to ensuring that the media continues to play its important role of joining forces with the government and other relevant stakeholders to combat the continuously growing conflict in the Lake Chad basin, specifically in Niger. According to him, the collaboration with L’ Evenement Niger further deepens CJID’s regional collaborations towards improving journalistic practices through refresher training on issues that impact the Lake Chad Basin. He noted that “regional collaboration is currently at the core of our expansion in West Africa. We understand the need to partner with local NGOs, CSOs, and newsrooms to achieve our aim. Accordingly, as far as the Niger Republic is concerned, we have established a strategic partnership with L’ Evenement Niger. We know they have well-grounded experience about the journalistic challenges in Niger and we are leveraging their local intelligence and capacity for this training.”

He further explained that with this workshop, the centre aims to equip journalists and media professionals in the Republic of Niger with the right tools and knowledge. This will help scale up their capacity to deeply report, spotlight, and analyse issues surrounding conflicts in the Lake Chad basin, specifically in Niger, such that their work helps stakeholders make informed decisions and policies to mitigate the crisis in the region. Ultimately, it will help to strengthen the democracy in the Lake Chad basin. “The CJID understands the importance of such professional capacity, which is why we remain committed to supporting journalists through training like this.”

 L’Evenement Niger’s Director, Mr. Moussa Aksar, who noted this training is the first of its kind in Niger, stressed that it will produce better-equipped journalists whose professionalism in human rights reporting is expected to enable better public awareness and understanding. According to him, “In Niger, this is the first time that investigative journalists will participate in a specific training on security issues and human rights violations. This training will enable them to cover more in-depth and ethical issues related to human rights violations. These better-equipped journalists will be able to play a key role in providing accurate, balanced, and documented information on the region’s complex issues, thus contributing to a better understanding and public awareness of these critical issues.”

The Project Officer for CJID’s Conflict, Security, and Human Rights Project, Ms. Oluwapelumi Oginni, added that the training is part of CJID’s contributions to the overall development efforts in the Lake Chad Basin. According to her, “there cannot be development without peace and security. If we seek enduring regional development in Africa, we must prioritise issues of peace and regional stability. In these dynamics, journalistic training and capacity building is sacrosanct. Earlier in the year, we trained journalists in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, and now we are making a progressive move towards training journalists in the Republic of Niger on conflict reporting. “

She further expressed appreciation to the Open Society Foundation for its support for the project, which makes the mandate of the organisation even easier to deliver. 

About the workshop 

The training, scheduled to be held between 19th and 21st December, 2023 in Niamey, Niger, is themed How to Investigate Human Rights Violations in the Lake Chad Basin. The training programme will cover critical aspects of conflict and human rights reporting. A call for applications for journalists reporting on conflict was launched, and a selection process was conducted. 15 journalists from the Republic of Niger who have demonstrated inherent abilities and technical skills in conflict reporting will be participating in the training sessions for these three days. The training sessions will cover a range of topics, including journalistic ethics and the fundamentals of conflict-sensitive reporting, data-driven conflict reporting, gender equality in conflict reporting, and understanding and contextualising conflict in the Lake Chad Basin.

At the end of the training, the CJID will support select journalists to report deeply investigated issues concerning conflict, insecurity, the economy of conflict and human rights violations in the Republic of Niger. These reports will help to foster strategic interventions and policy actions towards security, human rights protection, and strengthening the rule of law in the country.