Freedom of expression is a fundamental element of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Media outlets are crucial to the exercise of freedom of expression because they provide the public a platform through which the right is effectively exercised. To an increasing extent, media does not only transmit information but also provides a platform for dialogue, providing citizens with information and giving them the possibility to express themselves.Media is seen as a watchdog of government in all its forms, promoting transparency in public life and public scrutiny of those with power through exposing corruption, maladministration, reveal mismanagement and push government for action.
Accessing and assessing public budget allocations is not only technical for journalists, but also individual journalists and human rights activists communicating suspected corruption may be subject to harassment and threats. Freedom of information and Access to Information can be supported as an antidote to corruption by enabling independent scrutiny of local officials who otherwise are often able to disguise their corruption by an independent media. If information on public funds and budget expenditure is made easily accessible to all citizens, it will make it difficult for fraudulent government to engage in corrupt practices.
Action for Transparency project is empowering journalists to investigate and make reports on corruption, misuse of public funds and abuse of office.
The A4T team has trained journalists (mainstream, freelancers, community, bloggers and journalism students) in Investigative Reporting. The training aimed to empower these journalists with skills to investigate cases of suspected corruption or mismanagement of public funds and analyse financial/budgetary information to reveal gaps affecting the health and education sectors.
We have supported some journalists with grants to investigate one or more cases of corruption in the health or education sector.
In order to increase dialogue within the media and civil society circles, A4T has been organising media forums to give space to different stakeholders in the media sector to discuss pertinent issues on media and corruption.