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A three-day workshop for 35 journalists drawn from both print and electronic media countrywide has ended with call on reporters not only to deepen their knowledge but also double their reportage on how multinationals in the extractive industries execute their Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS).

Journalists should also re-double their efforts by verifying to ascertain what exactly the companies claim they have provided to their sphere of operations that constitute their CRS and its implications on taxation to the state. They must also distinguish between what constitute CSR and social investments.

They were reminded that any CSR claim by any company has significant implications for the level taxation the said company pays to the state.

The workshop, the second in a series provided a platform for them to discuss the work of Mining Sector Legal Framework; Perspective of the Industry and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to enhance understanding of the governance aspect of the sector to generate informed and broad national discourse.

Discussants agreed that media?s involvement in strengthening accountability in this sector is rather weak as most of the coverage or reportage of many companies CSR is limited to what the donating company definition of CSR is but the concept of CSR is encompassing than what reporters are told.

It is against this background that GIZ in cooperation with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) collaborated with the Institute for Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) to hold a series of capacity building training initiatives.

Participants agreed that Ghana should consider without delay the issue of legislating on the EITI which will be legally binding to all stakeholders as it could be abandoned midstream. And it gives the institutions legal footings to demand the needed information and documents.

Organizers of the workshop strongly believe that media plays a crucial role in the quest to promote good governance, both in terms of holding governments accountable and also in terms of keeping the gates, investigating and keeping watch on those institutions put in place to ensure the effective prevent and combat corruption.? A critical role of the media is to give the people access to balanced information so they can make informed social, economic and political choices that affect their lives. Open and inclusive systems of governance make it more difficult for injustices to occur

We also believe that the media with oversight responsibility will complement the work of the Parliamentary select committee on the sector to strengthened accountability and highlight the negative implications of the non-transparent sector governance to the economy, host communities and the larger society.

Source: Seibik Bugri

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