Journalists not engaging in investigative journalism have been attributed to rising spate of injustice and inefficiency of public office holders and others in implementation of extent laws relating to justice.
Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Mr Musikilu Mojeed, made the assertion while addressing participants at the just concluded training on investigative journalism in criminal justice and anti corruption sector, a programme of Rule of Law and Anti corruption (RoLAC), organised by Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), sponsored by European Union through British Council.
According to Mojeed, society would be better off if the journalists ground themselves with relevant laws on administration of criminal justice, public procurement laws, police act and others, and apply them succinctly in their daily reportage.
Buttressing his facts, he explained that Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) provided that cases received by Chief Judge should be assigned to judges within 15 days, while judges are to issue notice of trials within 10 working days, but most times these were not adhered to.
“Suspects can be remanded for 14 days, which is renewable for another 14 days. The Act also stipulates that the police should treat suspects with humane, not to interrogate them alone. I want the journalists to deepen their sources and be knowledgeable of all the relevant laws. These will empower them to be more professional, discover when law enforcement agents, the judiciary or politicians are going contrary to them in their respective duties.
“The journalists should ask questions on why the roads flagged off by our leaders have not been completed. They should ask why vehicles the government provided to security apparatus, ministries and agencies disappear from road in a shortest period of time,” he maintained.
He urged journalists to move from conventional journalism to investigative journalism, which he said would enable them to hold the public office holders, police and judiciary accountable, as well as reduce abuse of power and injustice.
The Editor-in-Chief, however, said most journalists sheer away from investigative journalism, including not following stories earlier reported, probably due to fear, intimidation, death and financial constraints, thereby denying the public access to information and justice.
Speaking on Data Journalism, Mr Deji Adekunle, enjoined journalists to always seek and apply appropriate data in their reportage for more value, promotion of good governance and exposition of corruption.
On her part, the Anambra State Project Coordinator, Rule of Law and Anti corruption Programme (RoLAC), Mrs Josephine Onah, encouraged participants to leverage on the training by making public officers more accountability and responsive.
Earlier, Project Assistant of PTCIJ, Ms Jessica Odudu, while charging everyone to investigate whatever reports on their disposal before disseminating them, explained that each participant at the training was required to develop story pitch on criminal justice and anti corruption sector at the end of the training which ran through Monday, May 20 to Saturday, 25.