Why we Invested: Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ)
A free and vibrant press is a fundamental pillar of democracy, but in Nigeria, the independent media struggles against policies and laws aimed at constraining media freedom, the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation, and dwindling funding resulting from the dismantling of traditional sustainability models.
The good news is that amidst these unceasing challenges, the fitful growth of investigative journalism has led to greater transparency, accountability in public service and governance across various sectors. Media advocacy organisations like the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) must be recognised for their instrumental role in helping move the needle on those fronts.
We are pleased to provide a grant of $200,000 to PTCIJ over two years in support of the organisation’s priorities. These include rolling out Dubawa, their data-driven verification/factchecking platform, to more Anglophone African countries, growing their subnational investigative reporting work across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, and expanding their press freedom work. Their press freedom work includes capturing and documenting systematic violations for PTCIJ’s Press Attack Tracker, publishing a State of Media Freedom in Nigeria report, and documenting Africa’s freedom of expression [FOE] regime through the provincial court mechanisms.
As the non-profit arm of the news publication Premium Times, PTCIJ works towards the emergence of a truly independent media landscape that advances fundamental human rights. Good governance and accountability through investigative journalism, open data, civic technology, capacity development, and policy advocacy are also at the core of its mandate.
Founded in 2014, PTCIJ’s influence and impact in investigative journalism have grown tremendously over the years. The organisation has now expanded into four other Anglophone West African countries, creating an impact beyond Nigeria.
In partnership with other civil society organisations working on financial transparency issues, PTCIJ has contributed immensely to improving the independent media space in Nigeria. Their far-reaching investigative reporting spans many sectors, including natural resource governance, health, agriculture, public accounting, climate crisis, human rights, and security sector accountability.
PTCIJ has pioneered several transformative initiatives. For example, UDEME is an online platform that provides information on budget implementation and procurement practices in Nigeria. Leaks.NG is an independent whistleblowing platform that was established to reveal public interest information in Nigeria. Through the platform, PTCIJ has collaborated with six newsrooms in Nigeria to advance press freedom and support journalists exposing wrongdoing.
In a similar vein and to consolidate the culture of truth, PTCIJ has set up Dubawa, Nigeria’s first indigenous independent verification and fact-checking platform. Dubawa helps amplify the culture of truth in public discourse, public policy, and journalistic practice, and is supported by Nigeria’s most influential newsrooms and civic organisations.
In 2019, Dubawa signed a partnership agreement with Facebook under its Third-Party Fact-Checking Programme. It follows a rigorous verification process for fact-checking, summarized as: “to encourage a more engaged citizenry who are capable of making informed decisions about issues that affect their development through media literacy articles, fact-checks, analysis, fact sheets and online/offline engagement.”
PTCIJ also supports the media ecosystem in Nigeria by providing training on fact-checking and reporting the natural resource sector through its Natural Resources and Extractive Programme, and by conducting research and building tech tools that identify, analyse and counter information disorder.
At Luminate, we believe in the power of investigative journalism to fight mis- and disinformation, and we’ll continue to encourage initiatives that foster an ecosystem where independent media can thrive.