Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya), a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1999 in Kenya with the aim of developing a transparent and corruption free society through good governance and social justice, is currently in partnership with Fojo Media Institute implementing The Media Tech Hub. The Media Tech Hub is a platform targeting journalists and social change innovators (software developers, researchers and creatives) who work together to enhance existing and create innovative solutions to promote transparency and accountability in delivery of public services, through accurate and effective media reporting.
Recently, the project team held a partners’ hybrid forum that brought together over 50 participants, driven from media practitioners, academia, civil society organisations and journalists. The objective of this engagement was to discuss possible areas of partnership to promote sustainable journalism through leveraging new technologies for media and collaborating with social change innovators and creatives to enhance civic participation in democratic processes. These key discussions were contributed by representatives of Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), Media Council of Kenya (MCK), Magamba Network (Zimbabwe), Think Illustrate, Africa Uncensored, Agakhan University (Media and Innovation), Kenya International Theatre Arts and Association of Freelance Journalists (Talk Africa).
With the rapidly evolving media landscape, some of the key highlights included identifying challenges experienced by journalists when using new technologies, the project team is keen to hold more capacity building trainings on digital tools available in supporting investigative reporting, digital security while interacting with open source tools, artificial intelligence and the use of Chat GBT in enhancing investigative journalism work. Additionally, collaboration with media stakeholders, CSOs, academia, creatives and techies will continue through the platform to provide a knowledge exchange environment where media, creative practitioners and civic tech can come together to test innovative solutions and promote insightful and accurate storytelling that serves the public good. The future of journalism in Kenya and globally entirely depends on the ability of journalists, media houses, regulatory bodies, civil societies organisations and relevant stakeholders to embrace innovation and adapt to the changing media landscape in order to preserve the quality and integrity of journalism while also ensuring that it remains a key component of democracy.
The Media-Tech Hub has resulted in meaningful partnerships with various organisations among many other engagements, grant and mentorship programme and innovations developed from collaborations between journalists, techies and more recently creatives in theatre art sectors. Engagements such as hackathons and co-creative sessions have resulted in development of tech platforms such as the COVID-19 Aid Tracker during the COVID period, the Campaign Watch platform during the elections and creation of explainer and satire videos to help journalists better tell their stories reaching a wider audience with improved delivery of complex investigations. Additionally, partnership with creatives, resulted in creating a 3-episode satire web series in partnership with Magamba Network.
The platform through its three main components; the innovation lab, learning hub and mentorship hub has continued to bring together the targeted groups to advance openness and empower journalists, creatives and techies to do more in the fight against corruption using safe and innovative technologies. Over the years, the investigative journalism grant and mentorship programme has supported 35 journalists to do investigative stories that exposed corruption in education and health sectors with support through capacity building trainings and mentorship from experts in investigative journalism.
More specifically, the project has supported 6 investigative journalists to do data investigative stories during the 1st phase. In the current phase, the project team is working to involve 15 journalists who will be engaged in fact checking journalism in partnership with Africa Check; This will result to 15 data investigative stories completed and published.
The success of the platform has been through the support of Fojo Media Institute, and financial support through Swedish Institute and Consortium for Human Rights and Media in Africa.