DRC journalist determined to spread the word on natural resources

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The PWYP coalition in DRC has been campaigning for years to increase understanding of EITI so that citizens can make better use of the initiative to improve the management of their natural resources. To this end, in a country the size of Western Europe with low internet and television penetration, the coalition has been training journalists on community radios about the issues, so that they can then spread the word. The below interview, by PWYP DRC’s Communications Officer Tina Meli, is with journalist Pascaline Tshimbuka who attended one of PWYP’s training workshops…

Pascaline Tshimbuka. a dynamic and passionate broadcaster, is taking part in a training workshop on the EITI for community radio journalists and is one of the few in her profession who chose to enter it despite having no formal training; instead she learnt on the job. A graduate in Business Studies, she took her first steps in journalism in 2002 in Muanda, where she was born.

Inspired by a small number of women journalists at RTNC (the national channel) including Nicole Dibambu Kitoko, she got a taste for informing people through the media and attended numerous training courses on handling information, confirming her decision to become a journalist. She now hosts a morning slot on Muanda Community Radio and Television.

We met her at the capacity-building workshop for community radio representatives on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative organised by the Publish What You Pay coalition in Mbabza-Ngungu from 22 to 25 September 2014.

“I have to admit this workshop has had a profound effect on me and my views as a journalist. Previously, I didn’t know much about the EITI and I had no idea that this issue was so important for our communities,” she admitted during our interview.

For Pascaline, the workshop was a reminder to all journalists to shoulder their responsibilities as communicators in a community environment and underpins her determination to look for information wherever she is, regardless of the risks.

“The workshop has given me the tools I need to get closely involved in disseminating information about the EITI and in particular about proper governance,” she says, adding, “The people of Muanda are often content with the donations such as rice, fish, etc. made by certain oil companies but they are entitled to know that these donations come from the income generated by managing their country’s natural resources and that they could get a better deal from the government if they themselves got involved in the EITI process.”

Pascaline, who was the only female journalist able to respond to the invitation to take part in the workshop, is glad to have attended and is promising to raise awareness amongst her colleagues and negotiate with her channel to host discussions on the EITI involving local communities.

She ends our interview on the following thought: “I have an advantage, which is that I work for the most popular channel in Muanda, and I’m confident that my voice will be louder and that it can bring about significant change for the people of Muanda and the surrounding area.”

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