A robust, independent media, trained in ethical reporting and investigative journalism techniques, can both increase the risks of exposure for corrupt officials and educate the public. Journalists in Timor-Leste are quickly applying these techniques, becoming new advocates for freedom of the press.
At the fourth watchdog reporting workshop in Dili, Timor-Leste, Timorese media discovered the value of anticorruption investigating and reporting skills in a free an open democratic society. Thirteen Timorese reporters – including three women – from nine media outlets participated in a workshop sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, administered by USAID and conducted by DI Development, a business of DynCorp International.
“Journalists as Heroes”
The workshop, held September 6, is part of a six-month media training program within MCC- USAID’s larger anticorruption partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste, emphasized high journalistic professional and ethical standards. Under the theme “Journalists as Heroes,” the reporters also learned to give purpose and focus to their stories, establish relations with the news community, and to attract readership attention.
“The intent of this program is to broaden your understanding about what it takes to be a good journalist,” said Salvador Soares, one of Timor-Leste’s prominent journalists and a workshop participant.
In addition to Soares’ interactive presentation, participants took part in a discussion on effective lead sentences from another important figure in Timor-Leste’s journalism community, Carlos da Costa, managing publisher of Business Timor.
USAID Anticorruption Efforts
In broad terms, USAID anticorruption-fighting efforts include media training that:
- Strengthens the independence and professionalism of the sector and freedom of information initiatives;
- Spotlights corruption as the misuse of public office for private gain; and
- Encompasses abuses by government officials such as embezzlement and nepotism, as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling and fraud.
The September 6 workshop was a follow-up to an August 27 workshop titled “Journalists as Villains,” which also had 13 participants. There reporters were schooled in the ways young journalists can be manipulated and the critical importance of using public documents to ensure facts and stories are reliable.
The next watchdog reporting workshop, titled “Ethics in Journalism,” will be held again in Dili, Timor-Leste, on October 8.
About Millennium Challenge Corporation
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty.
Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support, MCC is changing the conversation on how best to deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership and results.
MCC forms partnerships with some of the world’s poorest countries, but only those committed to: good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens.