An Indian media practitioner is encouraging African journalists to continue to be fearless in their reportage and choice on what to publish for public consumption.

Managing Editor of Down to Earth magazine, Richard Mahapatra, says journalists should not allow politicians to dictate to them the kind of stories they should publish.

“Let the politicians speak but you must decide what they speak and what you would write,” he said.

Though Mr. Mahapatra says journalists are not supposed to be spokespersons for governments, he believes the only way to get to the bottom of issues is to engage them.

“Environment and development are such a high political issues and political reporting gives much space to write all about that.”

But he says African journalists must redefine their political reporting. Rather than targeting one politician or political party and what they are say, it should always be issue-based discussions.  

Mr Mahapatra is also challenging his African colleagues to focus more on development and growth of people on the continent.

He says that can be achieved only when journalists rigorously research and understand subjects they address.

He added that editors in particular must enhance their knowledge to be able to guide reporters to mount analytical pieces to open up the continent for development. 

“Editors must give intellectual leadership. They need to be more informed, and more perspective to be able to guide.”

Mr. Mahapatra believes painstaking work will prevent journalists from giving information without perspectives.

The Indian media mogul says journalists must equip themselves with the latest tools for more effective story telling.

Mr. Mahapatra reminds Africa journalists to be more rigorous with research to compel politicians to speak about things that matter.