The International Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) has successfully completed the first phase of training for 10 selected journalists from various media houses across Ghana.
The training workshop forms part of Penplusbytes’ “Empowering the Media to Play an Active Watchdog Role over Ghana’s Oil and Gas Revenues and Resources” project with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana. It begun on the 24th June with a face-to-face intensive training workshop with resource persons drawn from the oil and gas industry, Civil Society Organisations in the oil and gas sector, Public Interest Accountability Committee and also seasoned journalists who took the trainee journalists through interactive sessions of practical learning modules with reporting and writing skills, as well as information about pertinent issues in the extractive industry to enable them undertake better and in-depth stories on the sector.
As part of the training, the selected journalists were taken to the Western Region of Ghana, the home of Ghana’s oil and undertook field trips to the Ghana Gas Processing Plant in Atuabo where they were taken through the technicalities of gas production.
They also visited the Takoradi International Company (TICO) where they gained a firsthand experience of how fuel energy is converted into electricity and other socio economic activities generated from the plant. Other interesting places the group visited were the newly established Enterprise Development Center and the Jubilee Technical Training Center at Takoradi Polytechnic, all aimed at building the capacity of citizens to provide local content to the sector. They also met with the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union and interacted with community members in the region to understand their needs and the effects of the extractive sector on their daily life.
Mr. Frederick Avornyo, a resource person and facilitator for the program said that “the program has indeed been a high impact training where the journalists were taken through investigative reporting on the complex oil, gas and extractive sector, how to track revenues from the sector and the environmental impact of mining, oil and gas exploration, the intricacies of awarding of contracts and licenses; regulations and monitoring of companies.”
He adds that “I hope all that has been learnt will translate to an increase in the number of stories on the sector for a well informed public so they will be able to hold government to account
Maame Esi Nyamekye Thompson, a trainee from the Multimedia Group also expressed her pleasure in joining the program, saying “I entered into this session ignorant about many issues in the oil and gas sector, but I can now say that I am more knowledgeable and my drive to know more has been activated.”
The six months training program aims to improve 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.