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Today, in the wake of the historic national and local elections that have just been held in Burkina Faso, the accountability of elected officials and decision-makers is regarded as a vital democratic necessity by increasing numbers of Burkinan citizens. The media, working alongside civil society, need to be able to understand this issue and then take stock of and report the population's expectations surrounding politics.
Launched at the beginning of 2015, the first phase of Faso Media sought to help Burkinan media outlets as they processed news for citizens and of public interest. This second phase is now aiming to give the media a greater role in the citizen-led control of public initiatives.
If the media are to fulfil this democratic function, then news professionals will need to develop a strong knowledge of the institutions and control procedures that are currently in place, so that they can provide the people with news that is relevant to them. This will also require information providers and social actors to wholeheartedly commit to greater transparency in the management of public affairs, and offer citizens platforms on which they can express their requirements.
This project is assisting both the Burkinan media (radio stations, written and online press, television stations, bloggers and political cartoonists) and civil society (CSOs, activists, citizens) in tackling these issues. It involves a series of initiatives conducted at both a national level (investigative journalism training programme, open data learning, production of civics education programmes and discussion programmes focusing on the key issues faced by society) and a local level (regional synergies, interview practice sessions, media management, and so on).
Members of UNALFA, journalists from 60 radio stations (privately owned local radio stations and public radio stations), from 4 privately owned television stations and from 10 written and online press organisations, 20 bloggers or internet activists and several civil society organisations (CSOs) from Burkina Faso, together with the citizens and the local authorities in the regions of Fada N'gourma and Bobo Dioulasso (pilot regions for part of the project).
Two trainer-training courses were held concurrently at the start of the new FasoMédias phase: a course for training future radio-technician trainers (16 to 28 January) and a course to consolidate the skills of trainer-journalists (23 to 28 January).
In the wake of the FasoMedias 2 launch seminar, 60 editors-in-chief, editorial cartoonists and bloggers underwent 5 days of general culture training in the field of key concepts in citizen-led control of public initiatives.
The second phase of the FasoMedias project, called FasoMedias 2, is now up and running and is concentrating on the role of the media and of civil society in citizens' education and citizen-led control of public initiatives.
In the pilot regions:
As part of the Faso Medias 2 project, which aims to give journalists and civil society a greater role in the citizen-led control of public initiatives by working alongside local elected officials, CFI and UNALFA – Burkina Faso's national union of free audiovisual media outlets – are launching a call for applications for an investigative journalism training programme.