The International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, has identified poor funding, public sector corruption and lack of political will to punish culprits as threats to investigative journalism.
It also scored the Federal Government low in its avowed fight against corruption.
ICIR’s Executive Director, Dayo Aiyetan, made the assertion ahead of the centre’s commemoration of its 10th anniversary, as the centre had, over the years, been in the forefront of promoting accountability and fighting corruption through robust and objective investigative reporting.
Speaking during an anti-corruption radio programme, Public Conscience, produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja, Aiyetan revealed that investigative journalism is severely challenged by funding and systemic corruption.
He noted that despite the persecution and harassment faced by journalists working for the organisation, ICIR succeeded in churning out numerous investigative reports, which exposed corrupt acts by public office holders. He said some of the reports made remarkable impacts as the government of the day had to react and address the abnormalities raised by the investigation.
Aiyetan commended the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) for funding their projects. He further noted that collaboration with PRIMORG and other Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, played a significant role in the height attained by the Center in the last decade.
“We are not where we want to be because corruption still persists in Nigeria, but I will say we have achieved a lot that we set out to do,” he said.
On her part, the Editor of ICIR, Victoria Bamas, while acknowledging that the government’s failure to react and address concerns raised from investigative reports was demoralizing journalists, stated that passion and commitment have kept investigative journalists going.
He added that in some cases the outcome and impact of a report take a longer time to materialize.
Bamas also disclosed that the ICIR also has an initiative for fact-checking called The Fact Check Hub.
“The fact check hub does misinformation conversion and also tries to enlighten the public, give youth skills and tutorials whereby one can identify basic misinformation,” she said.