Saturday, 26 July 2014

Wole Soyinka Centre to increase investigative reporting of girls and women #ReportWomen!


In view of the need to increase and improve the reportage of girls and women in the Nigerian media, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism has launched the “Report Women!” project. Report Women! is a collaborative effort between the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Centre planned to focus on major issues of access and abuse, ranging from education, to health care, to violence, and early marriage, among others. 

The project seeks to use the tool of investigative reporting to highlight these issues, even as it examines the role of religion in the girl child and woman’s rights trajectory.

The Report Women! project started in May 2014 with a one-month media monitoring of the reportage of girls and women in seven Nigerian newspapers. It will continue with a meeting of stakeholders on Thursday 7 August 2014 in Lagos.

Friday, 25 July 2014

My musings on Wole Soyinka @ 80

By Frank Opara
“Biko, try and tone down the volume of your English next time you write for everyday users like us, inugo?”

“Hia! Ibiakwa! What do you mean by ‘tone down’”?

“You are too elitist in your writing. You may not know that I have a problem with ‘big’ grammar? I can barely understand English when it is written in complicated language.”

“It’s alright, is that what you mean?”

“Yes, I mean both in reading and comprehension, or are you one of those who can’t write simple easy-to-read English for daily users like us? In fact you remind me of one WS.”


“Yes, are you his clone?” Like you’re one of his disciples, your literary patron saint? With your scruffy beard and Afro hairstyle.”

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Lagos maternity/paternity leave and Nigerian workers

By Kayode Ketefe

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State
A new dimension was introduced into working conditions of Nigerian workers few days ago with the announcement by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), of Lagos State approving paternity leave to all the state workers.

This means a male officer in the state employ to whom a new baby (or babies) is born would be entitled to 10 working days paternity leave in relation to and at the time of his spouse's first two deliveries. This, it is conceived, would allow the fathers of new born babies to enjoy the company of his wife and the new arrival.

The existing maternity leave was also reviewed and increased from three months to six months with full pay. This is however only valid for the first two deliveries and the mother’s subsequent deliveries afterwards would only attract the normal leave under the old maternity leave regulation. In the same vein, paternity leave would be for the first two children, after that the father is entitled to no leave.

President Jammeh must put an end to 20 years of repression, impunity and human rights violations

Joint Statement
On 22 July 1994, a group of military officers led by lieutenant Yahya Jammeh overthrew President Dawda  Jawara,  who  had  been  in  power  in  Gambia  since  1970.  Yahya  Jammeh,  supported  by  the army, proclaimed himself President of the Republic and, over time, took direct control of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior.

The Gambian government tolerates no dissent and commits serious human rights violations. Human rights defenders, journalists, political opponents and other Gambians who are critical of government policies continue to face intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, ill-treatment, death threats and enforced disappearance.

Some of the human rights violations recorded over the last 20 years include the killing of 14 protesters in April 2000, the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004, the enforced disappearance of journalist Ebrima Manneh in 2006, the torture of journalist Musa Saidykhan in 2006, the arbitrary executions  of  9  prisoners  in  2012,  and  the  “incommunicado”  detention  of  human  rights  defender Imam Baba Leigh for five months of the same year.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

APC youths call for an end to impeachment of governors in Nigeria

The All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF), being a youth movement of the All Progressives Congress (APC), continues to work towards the attainment of a people-centered, solution-oriented, and progressive government.  

However, the recent trend of impeachment proceedings being brought against governors of the opposition parties that oppose the largely unproductive and negligent PDP administration gives us cause to worry about the future of our nation’s democracy.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Media startups will build new tools for civic engagement, storytelling (Knight Prototype Fund)

By Desiree Everts 
Sixteen winners of the Knight Prototype Fund are set to receive US$35,000 to help bring their ideas even closer to fruition. The Knight Foundation on Wednesday announced the most recent winners of its fund, which looks to support early-stage media ideas in an effort to push them closer to a formal launch.

Several of the projects in this round include tools for journalists and publishers to encourage news development, storytelling, and community engagement. DIY StoryCorps, for instance, is a mobile app that lets anyone create do-it-yourself interviews to record people’s stories. Global I-Hub ICIJ is a secure platform to make cross-border collaboration on stories easier. 

How digital startups can better deal with uncertainty

By James Breiner 
When you are starting out with a digital product, it makes sense to get advice from experts. But experts can't help you learn as much as you can on your own.

In fact, most of the successful digital entrepreneurs I know give the same advice: develop a prototype as quickly as possible. A business plan or a powerpoint is fine, but you need to put your actual product into the hands of the public and test your theories. See if they work.

Journalists and civil society must join forces to engage the public with health news

By Cece Fadope
Now that news reporting is no longer simply a matter of journalists deciding what they think the public needs to know, the mainstream media must make the shift from just reporting about news events to exploring ideas that move the audience to think and act.

Nowhere is that more true than in health coverage, where locally relevant engagement with the news can help individuals and communities identify their health priorities and have a conversation, offline and online, about solutions that can make a difference in their lives. Civil society organizations should be key partners in the effort to engage and inform people about personal and public health.

How NPR's Next Generation Radio, which trains young journalists, has evolved since 2000

By Doug Mitchell 
NPR’s Next Generation Radio started in 2000 as a hands­-on, web­-distributed training ground meant to lure talented college students, especially students of color, to public radio.

It’s worked. Our trainee alumni list includes some of the newer on-air voices in public radio. Among them are Audie Cornish, co­-host of NPR’s All Things Considered; Celeste Headlee, a fill-in host on NPR’s Tell Me More, now with Georgia Public Broadcasting; and Shereen Marisol Meraji of NPR’s Code Switch. Dozens more Next Generation graduates are now at public media stations, and several have moved into management as news directors.

SoundCite makes it easier to add audio clips to text stories

By Jessica Weiss
An innovative tool for adding audio clips to stories recently launched a new version, making it mobile- and MP3-friendly.

SoundCite, a project of Northwestern University's Knight Lab, is a one-year-old tool that lets users add in-line audio to their stories. This means audio is not isolated; it plays right under the text, giving more seamless context and emotion to a story.

From the start, SoundCite was designed for any content creator to use--no coding required. Adding clips is a three-step process: Find the link you want to embed, set start and end points to create a clip, and tell SoundCite which text will be linked to the audio. The system creates an embed code that is placed directly in the story text. (Watch a tutorial here.)

Reflections on the Chibok girls

By Denja Yaqub
Over ninety days since young school girls were abducted from their school; Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, north east Nigeria on April 14 2014, no success has been glaring on efforts to rescue the girls despite global outrage and promises by foreign governments, including global powers such as the United States, to get the girls out of captivity.

Indeed, a former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo was quoted in recent media reports to have said the failure of the Nigerian security forces to rescue the girls almost instantly after their abduction was because they never got directives to take such action since the Presidency didn't believe the girls were truly seized until the massive global condemnation, two weeks after. 

Defending and promoting freedom of expression in West Africa

By Kwame Karikari
Prof. Olatunji Dare came back home in 1977. I returned to Ghana in 1979. At the time and through the 1980s, our continent was ruled by military regimes and one-party states, with many presidents-for-life. The only places with some semblance of democratic rule were The Gambia, Botswana and newly independent Zimbabwe. As in Nigeria and Ghana, attempts at multiparty liberal democratic constitutional rule were short-lived. The military intervened – usually brutally — before the last votes in democratic elections were counted.

In this political atmosphere, the situation of the mass media across the continent was like, as an American scholar, William Hachten, described it with the title of his book, “Muffled Drums”. In terms of the press, Nigeria, Kenya and apartheid South Africa were the only countries with a multiplicity of private press ownership worth talking about. 

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