Freedom Forum and Office of the Auditor General (OAG) hosted ‘Journalists’ Training on Audit Accountability’. At the event, Deputy Auditor-General Ramu Prasad Dotel said civil society organizations (CSOs) and media could play important role as parts of the broader ecosystem of audit accountability and their engagement in the audit process particularly in performance audit is critical.

Dotel delivered an interactive presentation on ‘Audit Accountability & Citizen Engagement Strategy’ and shed light on accountability types, ecosystem, and citizen engagement, the role of media as well as reflection of media coverage in the past and present. In response to the queries of economic journalists along with the presentation, he reflected on media coverage of the latest 2077 BS annual report of OAG and how media covered the same.

According to him, the coverage was more encouraging and performance audit reports should also have at least or even more coverage.

On the occasion, President of Society of Economic Journalists Nepal (SEJON), Bhim Gautam, made presentation on ‘Infrastructure and Performance Audit’ focusing in light of journalistic aspects and technical aspects.

Economic journalists attending training on audit accountability

Twenty topics from the last three performance audit reports of the Office of Auditor General (55th, 56th & 57th) were selected for the training ranging the topics from Performance Audit, Environmental Audit as well as IT Audit. Users’ Group, Government Vehicle Management, Big National Projects, Community Schools, Public Corporations, Electronic Government Procurements etc were some topics for the training of journalists vying for larger and multi-discipline coverage of journalists’ views and training on these reports.

The participants presented their views on reports as well as raised important issues based on performance reports.

Appreciating participants’ views, noted journalist Hari Bahadur Thapa and FF Executive Officer Taranath Dahal put forth their observations on the reports. They said much more could be pulled out from the reports and made opinions, and articles.

Similarly, the trainers highlighted how topics are to be reported, ways of further investigation on reports, how other information based on these reports could be garnered. At the event, Assistant AG, Mr. Ashok Karki; Directors Mr. Dhurba Raj Bhusal, and Mr. Rajendra Raj Ojha answered the queries about reports and hoped that the media would circulate it and be proactive on covering performance audit reports extensively.

Policy advisor at FF, Mr. Krishna Sapkota, addressed the workshop on how performance audit reports and Right to Information could be utilized together for the investigative reports as well as further reporting on audit reports findings.

According to AG Ashok Karki, the Supreme Audit Institute (SAIs) with Freedom Forum was effective in engaging media and CSOs for promoting audit accountability. He praised the role of FF in this initiative and thanked all participants with the hope of their continuous engagement in the future. The workshop ended with appreciation and word of thanks from Assistant AG after the distribution of certificates to all participants.

The training workshop was hosted with the collaboration support from the SEJON and with financial assistance of International Budget Partnership (IBP) at Sap Falcha, Thapathali, Kathmandu on July 28. A total of 21 (7 Female & 14 Male) economic journalists were present along with three officials from the Office of Auditor General in observer capacity in the workshop while Hari Bahadur Thapa  and Taranath Dahal were trainers for the workshop.