The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) commenced the Civic Space Guard project in December 2021 with funding support from the Luminate Group, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Shehu Musa Yar’Ardua Foundation and the Open Society Foundations- Africa.
The Civic Space Guard project is designed to fortify the position of the media as an independent protector of the civic space by through stakeholders’ conversations, carrying out media monitoring on the status of the civic space, rewarding reporters who investigate and call out the impunity of government and its agencies within the civic space. It will also study how the media and the civic space with a particular spotlight on policy and legal frameworks, events and stories on freedom of expression, participation, association, and peaceful assembly.
Under the project, 2021 winners of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting (WSAIR) embarked on a fully sponsored trip to South Africa for a study tour to reinforce their roles as defenders of the civic space.
In 2022, WSCIJ hosted a stakeholders’ conference titled ‘Hushed voices and the media’s defence of the civic space’. It had in attendance members of civil society organisations, activists, trade unions, media, diplomatic corps, law enforcement agents, private corporations, political parties, religious organisations, and other citizens.
A media monitoring report exercise that mirrored the Nigerian civic as reported in the media between 2012 and 2022 was also publicly presented.