Investigative Journalism expected to embrace Digital Rights

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

Deliberations at   ‘The Makers Camp’ organised by FeedZW recently,   have  pointed to a correlation between investigative journalism and  digital rights in quest for transparency and accountability.

The 3-day event saw renowned investigative journalist and managing editor of an online investigative journalism website, Zim Morning Post, Elias Mambo, talking about how investigative journalism  can now be necessitated by social media.

“Today it’s now  a bit easier to investigate stories  because of social media. For instance following social media posts can give you a hint on a story to unearth, ” said Mambo who is also the  founding director of Centre for Investigative Journalism in Zimbabwe.

According to multi-media journalist Privilege Musvanhiri who reported immensely on the Cyclone Idai  using his mobile phone, mobile reporting is now an inherent skill to explore for journalists.

“If you followed my reportage on the Cyclone Idai  you maybe tempted to think I was using sophisticated tools to convey the messages only to find out that it was only my smart-phone that I was using.

“I encourage journalists to embrace mobile reporting  as it is an exciting venture which appeals to an audience which is now increasingly online,”cited Musvanhiri .

Musvanhiri also implored journalists to be the ambassadors of their reports by sharing the content.

“As journalists we should be ambassadors   of our own content  such  that even when there is  backlash on some of our reports we should be able to  be grounded  and defend the reports, ” added Musvanhiri.

The FeedZW poject officer Tafadzwa Tseisi reminded journalists to maintain ethical considerations when mobile reporting.

“I strongly encourage journalists not to discard ethics when mobile reporting as this will help in enhancing credibility ,” asserted Tseisi.

Misa Zimbabwe legal and ICT officer Kuda Hove encouraged journalists to advocate for digital rights since they complement their work.

“As an organisation we have been pushing for journalists to advocate for digital rights as they are an enabler to your work.

“The internet is essential in promoting freedom of expression (FOE) and as journalists you also want to share your content via WhatsApp,Facebook and You Tube  hence the need to ensure digital rights in terms of accessibility are promoted,”implored Kuda Hove.

The Makers Camp  also  saw journalists some drawn from the Young Journalists Association (Yoja) and Journalism Students Network of Zimbabwe (Jsnetzim)  going through intensive training on video production and story- telling techniques.