The Free Press Initiative (FPI) in partnership with the BBC Media Action has launched the “Moto” Project aimed at equipping 10 female broadcast journalists from 9 provinces of Zambia with training and expertise in current affairs and investigative journalism.
Free Press Initiative Founder Joan Chirwa explained during the launch of the Moto Project was born out of the realisation that female journalists require training support, hence the project run for an overall period of 9 months and during this period which began in May this year, the participants were tasked to produce six pieces of journalism products: one long investigative journalism piece, a fact-checking and verification piece, a news bulletin, an online package, an on-location reporting piece and one interview in the ‘hard talk’ format.
“Some of these ladies (whom I proudly refer to as moto girls) have already completed their investigative journalism pieces, with other participants set to finish theirs soon,” she said
Ms Chirwa added that this project offers an opportunity to tell unheard stories, stories covered under the veil of secrecy, thus the women in this program will bring out the sharp focus of skilful journalism to their communities and to Zambia as a whole.
She stated that FPI is mindful that journalists are operating under a difficult media environment, and challenging as it may be, the women under the Moto Project are charged and equipped with the necessary skills, because operating in such an environment, professional, coherent and timely journalists are needed more than ever.
Ms Chirwa said that she is more than confident that these women will produce such journalists, as their work will also promote justice, expose truth, and deliver important stories to the public, for this project represents a step forward not only for journalism in Zambia, but also for women’s equity and recognition.
The launch of the Moto Project was graced by Ministry of Information and Media Permanent Secretary Kennedy Kalunga who expressed commendations to the Free Press Initiative and BBC Media Action for coming up with this project to train 10 female journalists from 9 provinces of the country with the necessary skills and knowledge required to do stories that have been perceived to be for the male journalists.
Mr Kalunga added that over the years, female journalists have shunned away from carrying out in-depth investigative stories because of many reasons, among them lack of proper skills to motivate them to do investigative stories.
He noted that the Ministry of Information and Media is glad to support the efforts of the BBC Media Action and the Free Press Initiative in ensuring that those in charge of disseminating information are equipped with the necessary skills to inform and dig deeper information that is needed to inform and educate the country on issues affecting them.
“The New Dawn Administration understands the importance of transparency and we should therefore, be held accountable for every decision made that affects the citizens of this country,” he said
Mr Kalunga stated that the Ministry of Information and Media, understands that another component of this project is to train the participants of the project on in-depth reporting which is believed to be very important when reporting on a particular subject, it is therefore, hoped that some change in the way that reporting will be done especially with the rise of misinformation and disinformation on social media will be seen.
“The Ministry is committed to media freedom as long as the media is responsible and accountable to what they do,” he stated
The Permanent Secretary thanked The Free Press Initiative and BBC Media Action for the support being rendered towards the implementation of the project for without their support, this project would be impossible to accomplish.
“We further hope to see more of this project so as to equip many more journalists with these skills, as this project reflects a definition of cooperation,” he said