Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Penplusbytes Participates in Internet Governance Training

Team Penplusbytes participated in a training workshop organized by the Internet Society Ghana Chapter (ISOC Ghana) in collaboration with the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) of Ghana and the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association.

The three day workshop was on Internet Governance and Standards Development. Participants were from both public and private sectors and tertiary institutions and were made up web developers, coders, content managers and software developers.

The team was tutored on key issues around governance of the Internet such as network neutrality, internet security, spam, ecommerce and user protection. Other areas covered were development of standards that make the Internet work in a seamless manner. The workshop was facilitated by both local and international instructors, among who were Edwin Opare, Technical Manager at NITA; Mr. Eric Akumiah, also Director of Operations at NITA.

Mr. Edwin Opare mentioned that “with the Internet Governance training, participants will be equipped to understand the economic, legal, infrastructural, sociocultural and developmental issues relating to the governance of the Internet in order to fully participate in the local & global multi stakeholder engagements that have made the Internet successful thus far.”

Sandra Mills, Penplusbytes representative at the event said “the training was a great eye-opening experience that brought a lot of knowledge and key issues on internet governance. With the NCA’s effort, policies should be put in place to curb issues such as SIM fraud and cyber security.”

The program was sponsored by the global Internet Society “from its Community Grants program geared towards innovative program that will advance its mission of open development of the Internet.”

ISOC Ghana is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people in Ghana and throughout the world.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The African Story Challenge- $1 million reporting grant

The African Story Challenge is a new $1 million programme of reporting grants to encourage innovative, multi-media storytelling that aims to improve the health and prosperity of Africans.

Aim of The African Story Challenge

The African Story Challenge is a two-year pan-African project that seeks to challenge the media to expand coverage of fundamental issues that matter to Africans. Our goal is to contribute to the building of a strong media sector able to deliver content that matters to the African public.

We aim to inspire a bold form of journalism that seeks solutions and uses innovative, digital and data-driven storytelling tools and techniques.

In doing so the project aims to hold leaders accountable, spur better policies, increase transparency, encourage public engagement and disseminate vital information that will lead to more vibrant communities.

The Competition Has Five Themes

    Agriculture and Food security
    Diseases: Prevention and Treatment
    My Africa 2063
    Maternal and Child Health
    Business and Technology

Go to http://africanstorychallenge.com/ for more info 

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International Institute for ICT Journalism

Monday, May 20, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: Uganda Police abusing its powers and law



The raid and siege of the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper offices by the Uganda Police today, May 20, is an abuse of power and the law, and a blatant violation of the Constitution.


In a press release defending their action, the police have said they were responding to the failure of Daily Monitor journalists to "avail and provide the original copy of a letter and other related documents, purportedly authored by Gen. David Sejusa (a.k.a.Tinyefuza), and the source of the said missive".


The police, accusing the paper of "adamantly" refusing to comply with the court order that required them to produce a copy of the letter and identify their source, say they sought and received a search warrant by the Nakawa Magistrates Court.


Arguing that the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper premises have been cordoned off in accordance with the laws of Uganda, the press release said, "Police shall continue to occupy and search the two premises until the said documents are retrieved to assist with ongoing investigations."


But this is only half the story. When the court issued the order compelling the Daily Monitor journalists to produce Gen. Sejusa's letter and identify their source, the company's lawyers appealed. As the paper's Managing Director, Mr Alex Asiimwe, said in a statement: "This matter is in court and management has contested the demand by the police for us to disclose the source of the story, and the matter is yet to be decided."


In any case, under the pretext of conducting the search, police have ordered the shutdown of KFM and Dembe FM, the two radio stations owned and run by Monitor Publications, publishers of the Daily Monitor. And it is unlikely that the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers will come out tomorrow.


All four are important sources of information for many Ugandans, whose right to receive information has been violated by the police action.


The police action, itself a blatant disregard of court process and therefore rule of law, appears to be meant to send a signal to the Ugandan media and the public that critical reporting and commentary on sensitive affairs of government will not be tolerated.


We must all stand up against this intimidation and wanton violation of the rights to free expression.

It is gratifying that several civil society actors led by the Foundation of Human Rights Initiative today congregated outside the Daily Monitor premises in solidarity with the media house. For a long time, the wider Ugandan civil society has been intriguingly silent on the question of press freedom. It is a struggle that they had left to media houses and a few media NGOs.


We all have to remember that press freedom and freedom of expression are not just about the rights of journalists and the media to receive and disseminate information. They are more about the right of the public to receive and impart information without which, as our Supreme Court reminded us many years ago, they can't meaningfully participate in their own governance.


An attack on the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper, no matter the degree of their imperfections, is an attack on the citizens of Uganda. We at the African Centre for Media Excellence are outraged and condemn this despicable police action.


For more information, contact Executive Director Peter G. Mwesige on +256-772-313067 ormwesige@acme-ug.org or Director of Programmes Bernard Tabaire on +256-772-575140 orbtabaire@acme-ug.org

source : http://www.acme-ug.org/news/item/451-press-release-uganda-police-abusing-its-powers-and-law 

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International Institute for ICT Journalism

Penplusbytes hosts UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact

Penplusbytes on Friday 17th May, hosted a three-member delegation from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) based in the United Kingdom for an assessment of Penplusbytes’ STAR-Ghana funded programmes and its impact on its beneficiaries.

The purpose of the visit was in connection with the general assessment of STAR-Ghana (a grant making organisation who receive substantial funds from the UK through DFID) and provide avenues for the future of STAR-Ghana and UK support to civil society in Ghana. It also served as grounds for knowledge and information exchange between grantees of STAR-Ghana and the ICAI team on best practices.

The Team Leader of the group, Mr. Marcus Cox, said Penplusbytes was selected among the many STAR-Ghana grantees for the visit mainly due to the leadership role Penplusbytes is playing in using ICTs and New Media to advance the cause of democracy in Ghana and other parts of the continent and also the innovative ways in which the organisation uses mobile applications and other to engage citizens especially those at the grassroots and CSOs on issues of transparency and accountability.

Some of the issues raised centered on sustained partnership building with Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders and how these partnerships are producing tangible results in the area of transparency, accountability and responsiveness.

Speaking on STAR-Ghana’s work with Grant Partners, Mr. Jeremiah Sam said that “they have been of enormous support over the past couple of years, providing both technical and advisory support and a platform for Civil Society Organisations to collaborate and work together whiles reducing duplication of efforts in achieving common goals.” The have provided both technical and advisory support to the team.”

Penplusbytes with grants from STAR-Ghana has successfully covered the 2012 Ghana elections using new media to enabling peaceful, transparent and credible elections and is currently undertaking a two year project aimed at improving coverage of oil and gas stories by the Ghanaian media leading to an increase in the quantity and quality (in terms of in-depth and investigative reporting) of oil and gas stories thus leading to the media playing an effective watchdog role over Ghana’s Oil and Gas revenues and resources.

Editors Note

PENPLUSBYTES www.penplusbytes.org is a registered not for profit organization since 18th July 2001 with the vision of driving excellence in ICT journalism. 

ICAI is the independent body responsible for scrutiny of UK aid. It focuses on maximizing the impact and effectiveness of the UK aid budget for intended beneficiaries and the delivery of value for money for the UK taxpayer. Its reports are submitted directly to the UK Parliament.

STAR-Ghana is a multi- donor pooled funding mechanism (Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana's government, traditional authorities and the private sector.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Penplusbytes Conducts Baseline Study on Oil and Gas Reporting in Ghana

A report on Penplusbytes’ baseline study of the print media on the quality and quantity of oil and gas stories reporting for the first quarter of 2013 has been successfully completed. The study made a content analysis of oil and gas coverage by two state-owned and one private newspaper; Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and Daily Guide respectively.

The purpose of this study was to establish the adequacy or paucity of content, the style as well as the nature of reporting and writing and to assess the potential of recent media content to make a desirable impact in the media’s watchdog role for Ghana’s emerging oil and gas industry.

Speaking about the methodology, Penplusbytes’ senior consultant, Dr. Doris Dartey records that “During the study, the selected papers were thoroughly scanned for content, which includes news stories, feature articles and advertisements pertaining to Ghana’s oil and gas industry from January to March 2013, these stories were further narrowed down to news items only”.

 “The third and final phase entailed reading and analyzing the type and quality of content and to draw conclusions as well as to make recommendations.” She added

The study revealed that coverage on the sector by the state-owned newspapers was very shallow (lacked in-depth reporting) as they focused more on advertisements and pseudo-news on the sector as compared to the single private newspaper. It also found that less prominence was given to news on the oil and gas industry by the state-owned papers; no front-page or back-page were dedicated to stories on the sector. Another finding from  the study is that the advertisements on the sector by Daily Graphic (leading state-owned newspaper) proves that the paper benefits from this sector through advertisements but neglects to play the critical watchdog role over the sector—a non-renewable resource

The baseline study forms part of Penplusbytes’ “Empowering the media to play an active role over oil and gas revenue and resources’’, funded by STAR-Ghana. The project seeks to provide journalists with an in-depth knowledge on how to effectively and efficiently produce quality stories on Ghana’s oil and gas sector. Other components of the project includes  workshops, interviews and informal ‘roundtables’, regular mentoring, field trips, and debates with technical experts and journalists from Ghana. There will be an online platform for information and knowledge exchange between the media and civil society for advocacy for impact driven developmental projects in the oil and gas sector.

Penplusbytes in the past couple of years has provided leadership in training journalists in the use of cutting edge new media technologies to enhance their work on various diverse thematic areas. The organization has already successfully trained 22 journalists in oil and gas reporting by improving their news gathering skills and improving their data analysis and interpretation skills in the oil and gas sector.

Please click on this link to download the full report.