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Business News of Friday, 28 May 2021

Source: GNA

ECA encounters media as partners in data production and dissemination

A similar webinar targeting French-speaking journalists has been scheduled for 8 June 2021 A similar webinar targeting French-speaking journalists has been scheduled for 8 June 2021

The African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday hosted a webinar on the need to improve the relationship between producers of statistics and the media to enhance the end-user experience.

Mr Oliver Chinganya, ACS Director said in a virtual meeting monitored by the Ghana News Agency that “Data generated by producers of official statistics are critical for planning, decision making, monitoring and evaluation of public policies. The media, therefore, is an essential vehicle to ensure that such data is transmitted and shared with all stakeholders.”

The session was organised in partnership with AFRISTAT, INSEE, ONS-UK, and PARIS2, under the theme “Media Engagement in Official Statistics: How and Why?”

Speaking for the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Mr Paul Seneadza, a GSS public relations staff, said his institution has a well organised structure for engaging with media and that they consider journalists as ‘essential partners’.

He noted, however, that some journalists need the training to enhance their ability to distill and disseminate data.

Mr Wanjohi Kabukuru, A Kenyan journalist said some National Statistical Offices (NSOs) make it difficult and sometimes impossible for journalists to access official statistics.

Mr Kabukuru urged NSOs to aspire to be primary sources of data rather than deny access for journalists who end up getting the same information from secondary sources - usually international organisations - to which NSOs furnish data.

“When you give data you control the narrative,” he added.

In the same vein, Rebecca Jakeway, ONS-UK’s Communications Advisor spoke on the importance of user engagement, citing the media as their 'most important stakeholder.’ “Our work is worthless if it doesn’t reach the end-user. The media has a crucial role to simplify data in a way that the general public can understand,” she stated.

A presentation on ‘sample tactics for media engagement in official statistics’ was made by Joseph Ilboudo, Chief of Statistical Development at the ACS, who highlighted the need to “remove barriers to entry and promote a relationship of trust between NSOs and journalists.”

He said, “ensuring that users get a pleasant, open, and informative first experience will pave the way for future engagement.”

Mr Chinganaya expressed hope that the media will “help enhance statistical literacy among citizens to increase demand and eventually for governments to begin investing more in data, innovation, and technologies for data collection and dissemination.”

The ECA Director pointed out that ACS and its partners are ready to support in developing and implementing a user engagement strategy.

“We have already started with a few countries, and we hope more countries will engage and follow suit.”

A similar webinar targeting French-speaking journalists has been scheduled for 8 June 2021.