Lazy eyes listen
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) plans to invest up to $8 million on investigative journalism in South Africa over a five-year period.
A political scientist, on the other hand, is afraid that Washington will use the project to promote a pro-American agenda and undermine China and Russia’s influence on the continent.
Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa would be covered by the funding plan, which was announced earlier this month.
The program’s official purpose is to increase the ability of media representatives to notify communities about crime and corruption on a local, regional, and global scale.
“The purpose of the Southern Africa Regional Investigative Journalism Activity is to strengthen the capacity and collaboration among Southern African investigative journalists, editors and their newsrooms to produce investigative reports of local, regional, and global importance on crime and corruption, including its transnational dimensions,” according to a USAID document.
Supporting investigative journalism presumably leads to more accountability and openness among South African governmental agencies. The programme, according to USAID, would result in the formation of a new pool of media workers.
“The activity will cultivate a new and diverse cadre of investigative journalists in the region with expanded skills for reporting, editing and reaching audiences,” according to the description of the programme.
However, political analyst Ivan Mezyukho warned RT that the programme might be used by the US to promote a pro-American agenda in southern Africa.
“The US is concerned about the growing influence of Russia and China on the African continent,” Mezyukho said in a statement. Washington, through USAID, “will be releasing agents in the region to promote a pro-American agenda.”
Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry has chosen to invest $5.5 million each year in French media to strengthen its presence in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Following government coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger this year, RFI and France24 were unable to function.