Resolution #3 – In 2024, embrace the harsh glare of accountability

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In 2024, the chorus of demands for media accountability must rise above mere buzzwords and translate into concrete action. The fractured landscape of misinformation and eroded trust calls for a fundamental shift in how journalism operates. Accountability, long invoked as a lofty ideal, can no longer be a distant echo; it must become the guiding principle woven into the very fabric of media production.

Holding power accountable, starting with ourselves
The fourth estate exists to hold power accountable, a noble task indeed. In 2024, the gaze should turn inward. Who pulls the strings? Are we reading the voice of a corporate giant with vested interests, or an independent beacon dedicated to truth? How are decisions made? Editorial independence is the heart of journalism, but opaqueness about decision-making processes breeds suspicion. The new year demands transparency: revealing the editorial chain of command, the factors that shape priorities, and the voices involved in crafting narratives. Knowing who has final say allows people to assess the potential for hidden agendas, for ideological slants that tilt the scales of objectivity.

No secret spreadsheets
Who pays the piper calls the tune, or so the saying goes. In 2024, the media must confront the uncomfortable truth of its financial underpinnings. Openness about funding sources, whether advertising, corporate sponsorships or individual donations, becomes a matter of ethical imperative. This means disclosing potential conflicts of interest, refusing funding from entities with vested interests in manipulating news narratives, and actively seeking diverse funding streams to maintain editorial independence.

Diversity behind the headlines
A truly accountable media understands that diversity isn’t just a box to tick, but a fundamental pillar of journalistic integrity. When newsrooms reflect the communities they serve, blind spots shrink and reporting gains depth. Lived experiences inform coverage, biases get challenged, and narratives shift to encompass the richness of perspectives often silenced or misrepresented. This isn’t pandering; it’s ensuring the stories told represent the multifaceted reality of the world, not just the narrow lens of privilege.

Beyond statements to concrete measures
Past pronouncements of improvement have not always translated into meaningful change. In 2024, concrete actions must take precedence over mere pronouncements. News organisations should proactively embrace transparency, inviting public scrutiny and collaboration. This entails initiatives such as citizen journalism workshops, media literacy programmes, open-source fact-checking, and community forums for discussing news coverage.

2024 is a year action. It’s the year journalism stares into the mirror, unflinching, and sees not perfection, but potential. It’s the year the fourth estate reclaims its mantle, not as a flawless monolith, but as a beacon of truth forged in the fires of accountability.

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ACME Mwalimu

The African Centre for Media Excellence's training unit, known as ACME Mwalimu, scours news platforms and online resources to curate the best training tips and resources for journalists and media organisations, empowering them to become impactful contributors to public debate and development. If you have a training tip or question, you can reach out to ACME Mwalimu at training[at]acme-ug.org.
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ACME Mwalimu

The African Centre for Media Excellence's training unit, known as ACME Mwalimu, scours news platforms and online resources to curate the best training tips and resources for journalists and media organisations, empowering them to become impactful contributors to public debate and development. If you have a training tip or question, you can reach out to ACME Mwalimu at training[at]acme-ug.org.

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