Monrovia, 10th September 2013, Penplusbytes in association with the National Black Programming Consortium and with funding from Humanity United is extending its successful African mining, oil and gas skills development opportunity to journalists in Liberia under “Empowering the Media to Play an Active Watchdog Role over Mining Oil and Gas Revenue and Resources Project.”

Liberia is endowed with a significant amount of natural resources notably iron ore, diamonds, gold, timber and rubber.

The Liberian Basin now has proven oil reserves with a number of discoveries announced.This has intensified interest in Liberia’s oil and gas sector, albeit commercial production is yet to begin. In light of this development there is an urgent need to equip Liberian journalists with the skills and knowledge they need to play a greater role in the oversight of oil and gas resources to ensure equitable benefits to the people of Liberia now and in the future.

At the end of the project, selected Liberian journalists will be provided with the skills required to undertake in-depth and investigative stories to better inform citizens and civil society organisations about pertinent issues regarding the oil, gas and mining sector in Liberia. These journalists will play a critical role in holding public officials accountable while demanding transparency in government expenditures from revenues accrued from the extractive sector.

“We have designed this project to span a period of six months with the overall objective of improving the coverage of oil, gas and mining stories by the Liberian media leading to an increase in the quantity and quality of media coverage of the extractive industry using a combination of interactive sessions, discussions with technical experts, mentoring, field trips and interaction with civil society leaders.” said Fred Avornyo, Oil and Gas Team leader.

Michael Kleinman, Director of Investments at Humanity United said: “We are delighted to support Penplusbytes in making this learning opportunity possible for Liberian journalists as they continue their efforts to investigate and cover Liberia’s mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.”

The project will also aim at increasing oil and gas information and knowledge exchange between the media and Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) leading to effective opportunities for national dialogue on key oil and gas revenue management issues.

Penplusbytes (www.penplusbytes.org) has since 2009 trained journalist from Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania on reporting oil and gas. The ultimateaim isto enhance the ability of the media to promote good governance in the extractive sector by regularly informing and engaging citizens, CSOs and parliament to effectively hold government and companies in the sector accountable.

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