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Sunday, November 23, 2014

CitiFM wins #HackAgainstEbola competition

CitiFM beat competition from some media houses to win the 2014 Editors Lab organised by  Global Editors Network (GEN) and Penplusbytes.
 
The competition, under the theme 'Hack against Ebola' saw participants build new tools for covering and preventing the Ebola epidemic (at a local, national or regional level).
 
The CitiFM team which was represented by the New Media Manager, Mawuli Tsikata and Broadcast Journalist Betty Kankam Boadu, developed a Mobile Platform that enables people, both educated and uneducated to receive information and updates on the status of Ebola in the country in their preferred local language.
 
The Citi FM team will represent Ghana at the 2015 edition of the GEN Summit in Barcelona, Spain.
IMG_4600
 
Graphic communications group were the 2nd runner for their 'Ebola Tracker' app whilst the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation were adjudged the 1st runner up for developing an Ebola game, 'Ebola Snipper'.Participating teams included Multimedia Group, Ringier Africa, NAFI, Business & Financial Times and Spy Ghana.

The GEN Editors Lab programme is a worldwide series of hackdays hosted by leading news organisations such as The New York Times, The Guardian and El PaĆ­s.The 2014 edition of the Editors Lab in Ghana was organised by Global Editors Network (GEN) and Penplusbytes with support from BBC, Google, Osiwa and Internet Solutions.

By: Nana Boakye-Yiadom/citifmonline.com/Ghana

http://www.citifmonline.com/2014/11/21/citifm-wins-hackagainstebola-competition/#sthash.86AA6by6.dpuf



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Help African journalists to develop prototypes against the epidemic

Introduction
Epidemics create panic, irrational information, dangerous rumours and uncertified facts, which can all generate chaos. Journalists must be prepared to fight all collateral damage associated with Ebola. Unfortunately journalists on the ground don’t have the necessary resources and tools that match the responsibility they have to inform local communities. This is why the Global Editors Network has decided to gather local journalists to empower them with the expertise to develop new applications and online tools that can save lives. New technologies and social networks will be crucial for covering and preventing the epidemic from spreading. Please help us to develop new prototypes!


Why Ghana? 

Ghana's proximity to extremely infected areas makes it a high priority location to intervene. Media in Ghana need to be ready with the right tools to fight Ebola. Ghana’s media is one of the most liberal in Africa, ranking 27th in the World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders, which makes it the 3rd in Africa.
 Over half of Ghana's population of 26 million (2013 figure) have access to the Internet. Social media is booming. Facebook counts more than 5 million Ghanaians. Over 90% of the population have cellphones, yet few of these are smartphones. Ghana's rapid technological progress urges the support from a broader more resourced journalism community to help local media. 


What is the Global Editors Network?

The Global Editors Network (GEN) is a non-profit organisation with 1000+ editors-in-chief from 80 countries seeking to empower journalists through innovation. GEN has been organising Hackdays around the world for the past 3 years. We have held similar events in Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Nigeria. It is our responsibility to bring innovation where it is most needed. This is why we have decided to gather funds to hold this event in Ghana (and elsewhere in Africa, see below). The fight against Ebola is common ground for the worldwide community of engaged journalists. 


Meet our partner and host PenPlusBytes

PenPlusBytes (PPB) is a Pan-African non-profit organisation based in Accra, seeking to empower media through new technology. PenPlusBytes focuses on developing social media, mobile applications and media monitoring. PPB's on-site knowledge and network will be a huge help in promoting this event. They will be essential in shaping the event and assisting the GEN experts to reach out to as many local journalists as possible. The event will take place at the International Institute for ICT Journalism headed by Kwami Ahiabenu (photo above). 
We also would like to thank BBC for their support in producing the video and helping us in this initiative. 


The impact 

1. First objective: to provide the means and expertise for local journalists to develop digital tools based on mobile crowdsourcing. Our goals include:
- Diffusing prevention measures to all
- Debunking rumours that can be fatal
- Locating infected areas and establish security perimeters
- Connecting the population with health authorities
- Developing small communities of proactive citizens. 
Here is a great example of a data-base of illustrations about key Ebola information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
2. Our second objective: Prototypes will be open source meaning that all news organisations in West Africa who are interested in civic engagement will be able to access the codes for these prototypes and develop them from their own newsrooms. Some takeaways for participants include: 
-  A bound-together environment for collaboration in news innovation
-  Access to a network of international experts to help them develop new tools
-  New prototypes to inform populations about Ebola.
Here is another great example about how the U.S. government is using data from cell phones to halt Ebola
3. Third objective: At the end of the event, each team's work will be presented to the online GEN Community and generate contributions from developers, designers and editors from the world-renowned news organisations. 
Last but not least, the winning team will be invited to present their project in front of 600+ editors-in-chief at the annual GEN Summit to be held in Barcelona, Spain on 10 - 12 June 2015. 

The format 

On 19 - 20 November, GEN and PPB will gather 30 journalists, developers and designers representing several well-established Ghanian media, startups and NGOs. Participants will benefit from workshops and insights from industry experts who will stay on site over the two days  to coach the teams throughout their development process. Participants will be able to develop both mobile applications and online tools. The winning team will receive post-event mentoring from senior developers within the GEN network in order to implement their prototype. 

The costs

We need $9,000 to make this possible. This money will be used to cover the logistics of the hackdays as well as travel costs and accommodation for two GEN team members (Programme Director and Social Media Director) and the post-mentoring process of the winning project. Your money will also allow the winning team to present their project in front of more 600 editors-in-chief at the GEN Summit in June 2015 in Barcelona.
Want to make a difference in the fight against Ebola? Help local media in Ghana develop new mobile applications and online tools. 
                         
You can donate from $10 to $1200. Each donations have different rewards which are listed on the right side of this page. 
If we get more than $9,000, we will set up a new cycle of hackdays in Senegal and other African countries. Let's help the Ghanian community of media innovators develop life-saving tools.
Thank you so much!
         
Other articles/tools about making a change through journalism in the fight against Ebola:

Tim Unwin on the contribution of ICT's to overcoming the impact of Ebola. 
The evolution of the #Ebola on twitter infographic by Le Monde. 
2014 West Africa Ebola Response: How can you contribute by Wiki Open street Map
BBC launches Whatsap service in West Africa to fight Ebola

They are talking about us:

Help African journalists to develop prototypes against the epidemic

Monday, September 15, 2014

Penplusbytes and NRGI 5th Training Programme on Reporting on Oil, Gas and Mining Opens


In continual pursuance of good governance in the extractive sector, Penplusbytes together with Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) is undertaking the “Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors: REPORTING ON OIL, GAS AND MINING” Course B training workshop that aims at the building the capacity of journalists to positively influence the transparent and accountable management of mining, oil and gas in Ghana from 15th - 23rd of September 2014 at the Penplusbytes’ New Media Hub.
The 10-day training programme is packed with carefully designed learning opportunities activity list including expert presentations by top industry players and practical field visits to Western region, Ghana’s key oil and gas production region, as well as meet with community members and leaders to discuss pertinent issues affecting the exploitation, utilization, benefits, and challenges of oil and gas from the affected population perspective. The workshop builds on an earlier programme for Ugandans, Tanzanians and Ghanaians Journalists held at the Africa Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) in Kampala, Uganda in June 2014.
Kwami Ahibenu, II, President of Penplusbytes said “the training programme is simply a testament to our recognition of the importance of the role of a well-informed media in ensuring that Ghana reaps the utmost benefit of her natural resources exploitation through training a knowledgeable breed of committed Journalists in the media to uphold and help safeguard the advantages that would accrue from the sector by first, acting as watchdogs over the management process and then pulling the larger citizenry along on that mission.  ”.
Participants for the workshop are drawn from various media across the country and includes Adams Kodjo, GNA; Dominic Hlordzi, GBC; Adu Koranteng, New Crusading Guide; Sheila Willaims, Business Day newspaper; Isaac Robert Aidoo, The Finder; Kofi Adu Domfeh, Luv fm; Malise Otoo, Spynews Agency; Mark Boye, The Enquirer and Marlvin James Dadzie, New Crusading Guide. Dominic Hlordzi participant form Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC),  said “the oil and gas sector is a complex and specialized industry that requires efficient reporting and this training programme will equip us journalists to police the country’s oil and gas industry and ensure accountability, transparency, as well as understand how the industry works”
Mohammed Amin Adam, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Emmanuel Kuyole, NRGI; Dr S.K Donyinah, KNUST; Prof Kwaku Appiah- Adu, Central University College among others are expected to make expert presentations at the workshop.
The NRGI together with Penplusbytes and other partners have, over the last 4 years, trained over  100 Journalists in enhancing  their ability and effectively inform citizens on the dynamics of the extractive sector while holding government and companies in the sector to account.


ABOUT
Penplusbytes (www.penplusbytes.org) is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining. It consists of a network of media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs to effectively advance high quality journalism.
The Natural Resource Governance Institute is a non-profit policy institute and grant-making organization that promotes effective, transparent and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good. Through capacity building, technical assistance, research and advocacy, the NRGI help countries to realize the development benefits of their natural resource wealth.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Penplusbytes and FAT-Africa Collaborate on Budget Tracking Project

The International Institute of ICT Journalism, Penplusbytes, in partnership with Financial Accountability and Transparency Africa (FAT-Africa) is undertaking a Budget Tracking Project to produce a simplified, easily comprehensible and reader-friendly citizens' budget. This is in recognition of the need to track government expenditure as well as efforts to measure how well policies are implemented and to what extent governments are fulfilling their commitments to citizens.
 
The joint project, with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana, taps into the widely acclaimed core competence of Penplusbytes in applying and delivering cutting edge New digital technologies to enhance civil and government interaction as well as FAT-Africa's extensive expertise in promoting financial transparency and budget monitoring, not only to implement this project successfully, but also ensuring that the project's outcome are fully achieved.
 
The project aims at courting the participation of citizens in the governance process by producing and disseminating a simplified version of the budget information to help demystify government budgeting and financial governance as a whole with the goal of educating the public about assurances by government in the budget for the public to in turn demand accountability from government.
Kwami Ahiabenu,II, President of Penplusbytes, during the launch of the platform said "this project primarily exploits the use of new technology to enhance communication and public participation by offering new opportunities for quick and cost-effective ways to gathering vital budget  information by citizens. Busy schedules mean that many citizens will appreciate convenient, comfortable, and quick ways to stay informed about government issues affecting them".
 
The project will also hold public budget reading fora to disseminate simplified budget and undertake status of the budget's implementation." Mr. Ahiabenu added
 
On his part, the Executive Director of FAT-Africa, Hon, Kan-Dapaah said  "the project's design will stimulate citizens' interest to meaningfully participate in contributing to a budget that seeks their own welfare, by making national budget information readily accessible to them through the publication of a "Citizens' Budget" that is presented in a language devoid of technical jargons and in a format that ordinary people can understand and thereby empower citizens to be involved in the monitoring and tracking of the status of budget implementation."
 
Editor's Note
 
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to empower the media through the use of Information and Communications Technology to advance journalism in the coverage of governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and mining, oil and gas.
 
FAT-Africa is a Civil Society Organization and a Think Tank that advocates and promotes Good Financial Governance with the aim of creating an enabling climate to nurture a culture of efficient public sector and financial management principles in Africa.
 
 

Penplusbytes and FAT-Africa Collaborate on Budget Tracking Project

The International Institute of ICT Journalism, Penplusbytes, in partnership with Financial Accountability and Transparency Africa (FAT-Africa) is undertaking a Budget Tracking Project to produce a simplified, easily comprehensible and reader-friendly citizens' budget. This is in recognition of the need to track government expenditure as well as efforts to measure how well policies are implemented and to what extent governments are fulfilling their commitments to citizens.
 
The joint project, with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana, taps into the widely acclaimed core competence of Penplusbytes in applying and delivering cutting edge New digital technologies to enhance civil and government interaction as well as FAT-Africa's extensive expertise in promoting financial transparency and budget monitoring, not only to implement this project successfully, but also ensuring that the project's outcome are fully achieved.
 
The project aims at courting the participation of citizens in the governance process by producing and disseminating a simplified version of the budget information to help demystify government budgeting and financial governance as a whole with the goal of educating the public about assurances by government in the budget for the public to in turn demand accountability from government.
Kwami Ahiabenu,II, President of Penplusbytes, during the launch of the platform said "this project primarily exploits the use of new technology to enhance communication and public participation by offering new opportunities for quick and cost-effective ways to gathering vital budget  information by citizens. Busy schedules mean that many citizens will appreciate convenient, comfortable, and quick ways to stay informed about government issues affecting them".
 
The project will also hold public budget reading fora to disseminate simplified budget and undertake status of the budget's implementation." Mr. Ahiabenu added
 
On his part, the Executive Director of FAT-Africa, Hon, Kan-Dapaah said  "the project's design will stimulate citizens' interest to meaningfully participate in contributing to a budget that seeks their own welfare, by making national budget information readily accessible to them through the publication of a "Citizens' Budget" that is presented in a language devoid of technical jargons and in a format that ordinary people can understand and thereby empower citizens to be involved in the monitoring and tracking of the status of budget implementation."
 
Editor's Note
 
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to empower the media through the use of Information and Communications Technology to advance journalism in the coverage of governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and mining, oil and gas.
 
FAT-Africa is a Civil Society Organization and a Think Tank that advocates and promotes Good Financial Governance with the aim of creating an enabling climate to nurture a culture of efficient public sector and financial management principles in Africa.
 
 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Africa & Social Media: Blogging; Activism; and the Future

Africa & Social Media: Blogging; Activism; and the Future

If someone were to be documenting Ghana's young history of its adventure into Social Media, one might refer to the 1 July demonstration, which triggered the hashtag #Occupyflagstaff, as one of the examples of Ghana's foray into activism. Activism, because many months after the so-called "Arab Spring", many have questioned when sub-Saharan Africa would have its own Spring.

But long before there was even any talk of a "printemps africaine", Ghana had begun making moves around Social Media. First it was Penplusbytes, or the ICT Institute of Journalism, in 2001. Seven years later came BloggingGhana – considered the largest association of bloggers writing about Ghana. With the advent of New Media have come opportunities for training and education on New Media, which the latter two organizations have been involved in.

That said, one could be forgiven for thinking that without being associated with these two organizations, survival in New Media is impossible. Far from it! For there remains many individuals blogging, and fully-engaged in New Media through many different initiatives they undertake.

Then there is the case of our media houses, which are taking the New Media bull by the horns and running with it.

Back in 2009, the host of "Africa in Focus" was called to national duty for the 14th GJA Media Awards. Word had it that his blogging activism was what led him to that calling.  Sitting on that committee as a judge for online journalism was indeed a priviledge, but he was disheartened by the fact that subsequent GJA Media awards did not deem Blogging and New Media an important component of Ghana's media landscape.

Fortunately, New Media has managed to move beyond relying on the Ghana Journalist Association. The establishment of organizations like BloggingGhana and Penplusbytes can veritably attest to this fact. But even with their respective successes, what have other African countries been able to do around New Media and Blogging?

In this edition of AIF, we talk to Kenya's erstwhile "King of Facebook", and Brand Ambassador of Safaricomm to find out how that East African country has been able to revolutionise New Media. We also talk to the former Knowledge Management Officer of the UNECA who played a proactive role in ensuring that the rather-prosaic policy of Africa's integration and development is translated into the more exciting and vivacious New Media channel in Facebook.

Even more importantly, we will be using the show to explore the extent to which New Media, especially blogging, is still a good idea, and does it have validity in a space where twitter seems to be king? What does Kenya's King of Facebook think about other forms of New Media, and does his commercial success lend weight to the fact that his template is one that can be replicated elsewhere in Africa?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One Little Step Into the World of Oil

Imagine this: A biochemical process forms hydrocarbons, in reserves that are proven or unproven, and in types that are sweet and light or heavy and sour. Then find out the commercial viability of such reserves and measure the output in barrels per day. Now imagine gas floating on oil. Someone tells you that the transformation of these resources into industrial and consumable products takes place through upstream, midstream or downstream activities.

The above makes little sense to some outside "the business," including many citizens in countries where oil, gas and minerals have recently been discovered. But the complex and nuanced issues surrounding the oil and gas sector—from the geology to exploration, extraction and, the most crucial stage of all, commercial development—become clearer with a little help.

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) offered to decode for us this complicated industry, and so I took my first little baby steps into the world of oil and gas. Joining 28 other journalists from Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania, I received instruction by five veteran journalists and a host of guest speakers from civil society and the industry. Organized by NRGI and hosted by the African Centre for Media Excellence, the training was engaging and offered a much-needed mentoring opportunity, which we lack in our newsrooms. Partly funded by STAR-Ghana, NRGI's program for strengthening media oversight of the extractive actors in Africa is run with local partners Penplusbytes in Ghana and Journalists' Environmental Association of Tanzania.

Like many Ugandans, on day one, I believed that oil companies were out to cheat us and that government had given away so much of its take in the hope of attracting investment in the sector that, as a result, we would not get a sausage from it.

But the course was about issues, not perceptions. Beyond the basics of the oil, gas and mining sectors, it taught me that good governance matters. Ghana, for instance, fast-tracked oil production, only to realize later that it lacked some of the essential laws and regulations that should have been in place to begin with. Uganda, on the other hand, is still dragging its feet on many issues, and the industry players are agitated because of the snail's pace toward production.

Both countries are on the path to becoming significant oil producers in the next 10 years, but Ghana is galloping ahead in terms of output. Meanwhile, Tanzania, with an estimated 46.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves that are expected to quadruple in the next few years, is already a hot spot on the world's energy map, courting major companies such as Norway's state-owned Statoil, Britain's BG and Ophir Energy, and USA's ExxonMobil. Players in Ghana and Uganda, by contrast, are relatively smaller and more likely to take risks.

As a journalist, how do I deal with such information, and how do I present it in my story? This is where the demanding training comes in.

A field trip to the Albertine Graben in western Uganda offered a critical look at oil's impact on communities, flavored with rib-cracking tales of how locals are spending millions of shillings paid to them as compensation—from marrying more women to being duped into buying second-hand cars at double the price. Yet others are tapping into this new opportunity and upgrading their skills, like farmers in Hoima who are supported byTraidlinks to raise the quality of their produce so that they can supply foodstuffs that meet the oil industry's catering standards.

The discoveries of oil in Uganda and Ghana and gas in Tanzania have raised questions about whether these countries can escape the "resource curse," where treasured resources breed despotism, conflict and corruption instead of development. Civil society actors have clamored for better laws to manage oil and gas revenues in these countries, and to improve oversight within the sector. The governments in Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania have each said they are working on it.

So how do I hold these governments accountable?

TEMA! That was the famous acronym we learned from George Lugalambi of NRGI, who said that natural resource decisions should be built on three good foundations: transparency, effective management, and accountability, or TEMA—which happens to be the name of a port town on the outskirts of Accra, where Ghana's oil refinery is located. The message was reinforced by Kwami Ahiabenu of Penplusbytes, who drummed the need to understand the economic and fiscal conditions relevant to each country. "How do you follow the money?" he asked.

So at the end of the 10 days, I had learned that I must do more than just demand a percentage of the royalties; I must also understand how revenue management and fiscal rules can benefit current and future generations. Most importantly, I need to help my readers take steps—little or big—to do the same. And now I'm equipped to do just that.

Barbara Among is a freelance journalist in Uganda. Her work frequently appears in The EastAfrican, among other news outlets.

To learn more about NRGI's course "Strengthening Media's Oversight of the Extractives Sector," or to read the experiences of other participants, please visit our course alumni page at www.resourcegovernance.org/news/strengthening-media-oversight-extractive-sectors-2014-class-profiles

Friday, July 11, 2014

Train the youth in new technlogies to take advantage of oil and gas sector – Lecturer

A lecturer has called on the Government to help train young people in new technologies so they could use the acquired technological know-how to accelerate the pace of development.

Dr Stephen Kudom Donyinah, a Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemical/Petroleum Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Ghana, said the Government could invest in such new technologies by providing scholarships for young people to train abroad.

He said they could then come back and compete with foreign expatriates, working especially in the oil and gas sector, and take over from them in future.

Speaking on the topic: "Engineering and Technological Challenges of the Oil and Gas industry in Ghana," Dr Donyinah, who is also the College of Engineering Coordinator, Petroleum Engineering Programme, KNUST, said just as done in countries like Japan, government could also partner with training institutions in Ghana to help identify and select the right caliber of people to be trained for the purpose.

The Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) held the Media and Civil Society forum in Accra as part of the ongoing "Empowering the Media to Play Active Watchdog Roles over Oil and Gas Revenue and Resources" project supported by STAR- Ghana.

The forum was on the theme: "Assessing Oil and Gas in Ghana Governance and Accountability Framework".

It brought together journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with the aim of increasing oil and gas information and knowledge exchange, leading to opportunities for national dialogue on key oil and gas revenue management issues.

It is also to ensure better understanding of relevant issues in the oil and gas industry for better advocacy, networking and partnership building.

Dr Donyinah said it was the responsibility of government to initiate the way of partnership with the private sector to invest in the young intelligent people and also help establish them in the various economies.

He emphasized the need to pull "our energies together to help build the oil and gas sector so it could help provide the necessary support for the economy".

Dr Donyinah also appealed to the National Service Secretariat to ensure that students who trained in oil and gas in the universities were posted to oil related companies for their national services so they could acquire hands-on experience that could prepare them for the sector.

Key speakers at the forum included Mr Victor Brobbey, Legal Researcher, Centre for Democratic Development -Ghana, who made a presentation on the topic; Transparency of the Revenue Act and Dr Steve Manteaw, Co-chairman, Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, who spoke on "Assessing Oil and Gas in Ghana Governance and Accountability Framework: the Role of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives"

Major Daniel Abloh (Rtd), Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, also spoke on the topic: "Implementation of Oil and Gas Transparency Framework-The Role of PIAC"

 

source : Ghana News Agency

 

Monday, May 26, 2014

'Journalists Must Expose Corruption in Oil Sector'

An Accra-based oil and gas Consultant, Prof. Kwaku Appiah-Adu, has charged journalists in Ghana to carry in-depth investigative stories on the oil and gas sector.

According to him, if journalists are involved and showed more interest in uncovering the unreported stories in the sector, the issues of perceived corruption, lack of transparency, and accountability on the part of key players in the oil sector would be minimised. Prof. Appiah-Adu, who is also a Vice Dean of the Central Business School at Central University College, was addressing some selected senior journalists at the ongoing one-week capacity building workshop being organised in Accra by PENPLUSBYTES.

The training seeks to equip the journalists to be able to educate the populace, play their watchdog role, and be able to ask the right questions from duty bearers, as well as ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector. The workshop, which is being sponsored by Star Ghana, is one of the series of capacity building workshops being organised for journalists across the 10 regions of Ghana by Penplusbytes, which is one of the leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) complementing the government's efforts at ensuring the oil industry in Ghana becomes a blessing, rather than a curse.

Prof Appiah-Adu charged the journalists to be at the forefront of reporting the facts, managing the high expectations of the masses, and help society to understand the benefits and potential dangers that come with the oil resource. The oil and gas Consultant also cautioned that there could be a serious uprising, unrest, and a feeling of neglect by communities, if the revenue ended up in the pockets of a few politicians and other influential persons, leaving the ordinary citizens to wallow in abject poverty and hunger.

Prof Appiah-Adu called for the review of some of the laws and regulations governing the oil sector to reflect the current and future dispensations, and ensure their effective implementation. "Those who are managing our oil resources must be people who are capable, committed, patriotic, knowledgeable, and are prepared to sacrifice their lives to take Ghana to the next level."

Mr. Fred Avornyor, a Media Consultant and one of the key facilitators, commended the Ghanaian media for the diverse roles they are playing in ensuring national development. He, however, pointed out some of the inefficiencies among some journalists in ensuring fairness, accuracy, balance, and most especially, in upholding the ethics of the profession.

source : Ghanaian Chronicle

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Penplusbytes Provides Capacity Training for Multi TV s News Generation In Social Media

International Institute for ICT Journalism - Penplusbytes has successfully implemented its maiden social media training and policy project for the News Generation team at Multi TV with support from Free Press Unlimited . The key objective of the capacity building initiative is to improve upon the quality of programme content as well as viewership of the channel by actively engaging the target audience through interaction on all social media platforms. As part of this project, Penplusbytes - a leading pan-African organisation in using ICTs to improve the cause of journalism - undertook social media policy development for the newsroom, Team Focus Group Discussion with audience participation, Training of Trainers and Training Workshops aimed at ensuring effective utilisation of social media in the news generation process. The 2-day interactive training workshop took participants through: Introduction to Social Media in the newsroom, Legal & Ethical Issues, Social Media Tools and Platforms, Writing for Social Media/Web, and Social Media Policy. Speaking at the ceremony held to award certificates to participants, Kwami Ahiabenu II, President of Penplusbytes said, “we are excited to work with News Generation Team at Multi TV on the social media capacity building project and we are confident the social media skills and knowledge of team members are now strengthened, thereby putting them in a better position to leverage social media in news generation process.“ News Generation program for young people in Ghana was established in 2011 in order to inform children and offer them their own media platform. The News Generation programme is Ghana's first youth news bulletin, produced by Multi Media Group, with support from Free Press Unlimited which works to ensure that reliable news and information are and remain available to people across the globe. News Generation program is part of the worldwide Kids News Network. According to Efua Acquaah-Harrison, a participant at the training and News Generation anchor, “this training has helped open my mind to the ways we are not using Social Media and thus have a new priority to evaluate its use in improving and enhancing content for broadcast for news – traditional and new media”. Penplusbytes is a not for profit organisation that seeks to empower the media through the use of ICTs to promote high quality journalism while at the same time working in good governance and technology, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Paper: "Using Technology to Promote Good Governance and Economic Transparency in West Africa," by Kwami Ahiabenu, II

 
 

 

 

 

Kwami Ahiabenu, II 


Founder and President, International Institute for ICT Journalism, Ghana

Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, D.C., Spring 2013

 


Executive Summary:

 

In recent years, most of the 15 member countries of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) have enjoyed expanded political freedoms and have passed a variety of reform measures to combat corruption, including the establishment of a regional anti-corruption institution. Despite this progress, however, the region still confronts instability, limited transparency, and weak democratic governance.

 

In response to these ongoing challenges, countries across West Africa have begun to harness the power of information communication technologies (ICT), primarily as a tool to run elections. Beyond their application in electoral environments, however, the full potential of new technologies to enable transparency, fight corruption, and monitor public service delivery has yet to be fully realized.

 

This exploratory study looks at how new digital technologies—including online platforms, mobile apps, SMS, and social media—are being used to promote democratic governance and economic transparency in the 15 ECOWAS member states. The report assesses relevant projects, identifies gaps in project deployment, and offers recommendations for the effective use of technology to strengthen democratic governance in West Africa. The results of the study show that although ICT is still in its infancy in West Africa, it is becoming an increasingly important tool in fighting corruption and monitoring public service delivery in the region.

 

 

 

 

Based at NED's International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program enables activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. During their time in residence, Fellows reflect on their experiences and consider best practices; conduct independent research and writing; engage with colleagues in the United States; and build ties with a global network of democracy advocates. For more information, visit www.ned.org/fellowships.

 

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