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Open Government: FG unveils plan to reward investigative journalists

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By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – The Federal Government on Friday unveiled plans to promote transparency and openness in the affairs of governance by rewarding journalists who report the best investigative stories.

The reward scheme tagged: “OGP Media Champion Program” was unveiled in Abuja by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, at the maiden edition of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Media Dialogue.

According to the Minister, the plan is part of the federal government’s initiative to mainstream accountability and transparency in the country.

Malami, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Sector Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, said the reward scheme is designed to provide opportunity for winning journalists to benefit from federal government’s scholarship as well as receive cash rewards, while encouraging the entrenchment of openness and transparency in governance.

“If we must deliver on the objectives of this administration to mainstream openness in the affairs of governance, then the media is one critical constituency that must be carried along at all times.

“For us to achieve this, it is imperative to work together to improve knowledge base.

“Let me inform you that we have finalized the plan to roll out the ‘OGP Media Champion Program’ through which we hope to reward journalists who write and publish the best stories on open government.

“We hope to give them a chance of benefiting from federal government sponsored training at home and abroad as well as cash reward,” the Minister said.

He further assured that the Buhari government will continue to improve its methods of citizens’ engagement while ensuring that the principles of co-creation and co-governance are preserved.

“We will continue to build trust with citizens and civil society to deepen our democracy and build a country where accountability and transparency gradually becomes an integral part of our daily lives,” Malami added.

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