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The Role of Journalism in Development

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Issue #: 
105
Text Date: 

April 23 2008

Date: 
April 23, 2008




From SOUL BEAT AFRICA - where communication and media are central to AFRICA's social and economic development

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To commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3, this issue of The Soul Beat looks at the role of journalism in development in Africa. We offer a selection of programme experiences, strategy documents, and materials from the Soul Beat Africa website that look at the role that the media and journalists play in promoting health, in reducing poverty, and in supporting social justice. The newsletter also looks at the importance of media development and media freedom in Africa and concludes with a selection of awards and events related to this topic.

If you would like your organisation's communication work or research and resource documents to be featured on the Soul Beat Africa website and in The Soul Beat newsletters, please contact soulbeat@comminit.com

To subscribe to The Soul Beat, click here or send an email to soulbeat@comminit.com with a subject of "subscribe".

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MEDIA AND HEALTH

1. Eastern and Southern Africa Media Strategy against HIV/AIDS - East and Southern Africa
This regional project seeks to increase the availability of information and communication on HIV/AIDS in the Eastern and Southern African region in order to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, improve the quality of life of people living with HIV and AIDS, and reduce related stigma. The project seeks to do this by improving the quality and increasing the quantity of information and communication material available to the media. Activities of the project include media training, networking, setting up a media resource unit, and disseminating information material on HIV/AIDS to relevant stakeholders.
Contact Alonso Aznar a.aznar@unesco.org OR alonso.aznar@unesco.unon.org

2. Radio Content Analysis Shows Improved Radio News Coverage of HIV in Kenya
by Elizabeth Gold and Mia Malan
This report describes the key components and underlying principles of Local Voices, a training project established by Internews in 2003 which was designed to foster more accurate, effective coverage of HIV/AIDS in Kenya by offering a range of support services to radio professionals to improve their reporting. The Local Voices project was based on a needs assessment which examined the challenges and obstacles the Kenyan broadcast media were facing in reporting on HIV/AIDS, as well as to identify opportunities for improvement. An evaluation of the project showed that a long-term media capacity building strategy seemed to be far more effective than the once-off sponsoring of HIV/AIDS programmes.

3. Health and Media In-Country Course Participants' Manual
This practical workshop manual forms part of a five-day course run by the Health and Media Partnership. The workshop aims to teach reporters how to report on HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria in ways that contribute to the prevention and control of these diseases and positively influence the attitudes and behaviours of community members and decision makers. The manual includes background information, ideas about developing a story, and guidelines on how to create accurate, balanced, and responsible reporting on health.

4. Media Orientation: Avian Influenza - Nigeria
In 2007, AED carried out a series of media orientation sessions in Nigeria as part of the "Global Avian Influenza Behavior Change and Communications Support Activity." In an effort to build the capacity of local journalists (reporters, editors, and publishers) on the public health issues surrounding the H5N1 virus, AED held three 3-day training sessions in Lagos State, Abuja, and Kano. The training focused on introducing facts and information about the virus, encouraging the development of accurate messages designed to prevent and contain the virus, and fostering effective response and surveillance when there are outbreaks.
Contact Academy for Educational Development (AED) avianflu@aed.org

5. African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) - Africa
This network of African journalists and scientists focuses on disseminating information on malaria control initiatives, as well as monitoring and advocating for the implementation of malaria policies in Africa. The network also advocates for and engages policy makers to implement international agreements on malaria control. The network is designed to create a common platform for African journalists and scientists to work together on efforts to eradicate malaria, with the priority focus being the training of journalists to report effectively on malaria.
Contact AMMREN info@ammren.org OR Charity Binka cbinka@gmail.com AND charitybinka@hotmail.comOR Lucy Oriang loriang@nation.co.ke

6. Writing for Our Lives - How the Maisha Yetu Project Changed Health Coverage in Africa
by Mercedes Sayagues, International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF)
This publication documents best practices from Maisha Yetu, a media project involving continuous in-house mentoring and training on health care reporting in six African media houses over a two-year period. The uninterrupted presence of journalist-trainers (as opposed to the more widespread model of one-time workshops on health care reporting) has allowed for the integration of theory and practice, resulting in changes in the quantity and quality of reporting on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. It has created champions of health care journalism in mid-and upper-level management where there was little or none before, and has helped journalists to recognise the centrality of women’s stories in the HIV/AIDS crisis.

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VOTE IN THE COMMUNITY RADIO POLL:

In which area of development is community radio in Africa most effectively being used?:

Agriculture
Conflict
Economic Development
Education
Governance
Health
Other

To vote and send comments go to http://www.comminit.com/en/africa/community-radio and see the Top Right side of the page.

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MEDIA, POVERTY, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

7. Making Poverty the Story: Time to Involve the Media in Poverty Reduction
by Angela Wood, Jon Barnes & Panos London
This report is the culmination of "Raising Debate", a 3-year pilot project on the media and poverty reduction in 6 countries, coordinated by Panos London with members of the international Panos network and partners in Africa and South Asia. It focuses on the role of media in poverty reduction through its ability to raise public awareness and debate and to shift public and political opinion, with the possible result of policy change. It asks for recognition and support of high quality public interest journalism that plays a role in coverage relevant to poverty reduction. According to the report, the media has boosted the potential for poverty reduction to be seen as a more newsworthy challenge.

8. Contribution of Radio Broadcasting to the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Madagascar
by Leo Metcalf, Nicola Harford and Mary Myers
This evaluation explores the strategy of using radio to influence audience knowledge and attitudes relating to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Focusing on Andrew Lees Trust's Project Radio in Southern Madagascar, the report shows that this initiative's use of radio is achieving some notable success in changing and enhancing knowledge and attitudes on topics including HIV/AIDS, family planning, mother and child health, environmental issues, social and administrative issues, and gender inequality. Radio is also reportedly having a positive impact on uptake of health services, enrolment in literacy classes, construction of environmentally-friendly woodstoves, tree-planting, agricultural yields, and awareness of strategies for poverty reduction through income generation and community associations.

9. Reporting Transitional Justice: A Handbook for Journalists
by Julia Crawford, ed.
This publication was designed to be a practical resource for journalists, media institutions, and others following transitional justice developments in Africa and elsewhere. It was produced by the BBC World Service Trust and the International Center for Transitional Justice as part of their "Communicating Justice" project, which aims to raise public awareness and debate around transitional justice (TJ) issues in five post-conflict African countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

10. The Media and the Rwanda Genocide
by Allan Thompson (Ed.)
According to authors in this collection of essays, the news media played a crucial role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide: local media fuelled the killings, while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued what was happening. This book aims to examine how local radio and print media were used as a tool of hate, encouraging neighbours to turn against each other. It also presents a critique of international media coverage of the events in Rwanda.

11. Gender Sensitive Reporting Manual
This manual is part of a Gender Sensitive Training Package, which aims to be a resource for trainers who want to encourage more gender sensitive reporting in the southern African media. Along with teaching activities, notes, and ideas for practical exercises, the manual provides suggestions for additional reading materials. Each day of the course outlined within the manual focuses on a specific subject area, and each day is divided into 4 sessions which include: patriarchy, concepts of gender, customs and traditions, gender division of labour in the media, and gender-sensitive reporting.

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Upcoming issues of The Soul Beat will focus on tuberculosis, governance, and mobile phones in Africa. If you have programmes, research papers, or resource materials related to any of these issues, please forward them to
soulbeat@comminit for possible inclusion.

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MEDIA DEVELOPMENT & FREEDOM

12. Criteria and Indicators for Quality Journalism Training Institutions and Identifying Potential Centers of Excellence in Journalism Training in Africa
This report maps the capacity and potential for excellence of almost one hundred journalism schools across Africa, highlighting the development challenges and opportunities of African journalism institutions and identifying specific areas for support from development partners. The report aims to provide a set of indicators and criteria for measuring the potential for institutional excellence that can be adapted for use in other parts of the world. In light of the findings, the report recommends that Africa does not need new or more journalism schools. Instead, the continent needs a core of excellent facilities that can make a real impact, and which are also at the heart of a wider network with other schools.

13. OPEN SPACE – The Media: Expression and Freedom
This edition of OPENSPACE offers a range of articles on the issue of media freedom written by media professionals from Southern Africa. According to this publication, "debates and discourses surrounding the establishment and securing of open societies have increasingly given the media an important place in healthy democracies. As an institution, the media is regarded as the bedrock of open societies: bridging the space between the state and the public. Vibrant and balanced media are therefore preferred and seen as ideal, in playing a watchdog role – especially for democracies to thrive. This is even more so in contexts such as Southern Africa, where the majority of the societies can arguably be considered young and budding democracies."

14. AMDI Research Reports
This is a series of 17 separate country reports released by the African Media Development Initiative (AMDI). Launched by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in January 2006, AMDI is a project involving African practitioners and leading media organisations in enhancing efforts to strengthen the capacity of the media in Africa - making those efforts more long-term, strategic, collaborative, and tailored to local needs. AMDI is based on the belief that fostering a stronger media in Africa is an indispensable part of enabling Africa to attain its development goals, such as tackling poverty. One year after its launch, AMDI released the findings of its independent survey of the state of the media in sub-Saharan Africa - and shifts within the media landscape of those 17 countries, which include: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

15. Media Legislation in Africa: A Comparative Legal Survey
by Guy Berger
This study includes an overview and a comparative analysis of existing media legislation in 10 multi-party democratic countries in Africa. It also aims to put legislation in these African countries in perspective with regional and international standards and best-practices in the field of media law conducive to freedom of expression. The countries covered in this study are: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

16. Database of African Journalism Schools
This database was compiled by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Programme in Communication and Information, as part of the "Building Professional and Institutional Capacity for Media Training" initiative. In collaboration with Rhodes University's School of Journalism and Media Studies (South Africa) and the Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Lille (ESJ, Graduate School of Journalism in France), UNESCO identified and catalogued up-to-date information on 96 journalism teaching institutions across the African continent. The database can be searched online, or downloaded in Excel or Access formats. An RSS feed is also provided, to inform users about recently added schools.

AWARDS

17. Stop TB Partnership/Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Journalism Award
Deadline April 30 2008
This award will recognise outstanding reporting and commentary in print and on the web that increases the public's knowledge and understanding of tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in countries affected by the disease. The winning articles must be published between March 1 2007 and March 31 2008 in a general circulation newspaper, magazine, or web news vehicle located in a low- or middle-income country.

18. Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards (DABRA)
Deadline May 1 2008
This award was created to recognise journalists and editors who provide high quality coverage of the business environment in Africa. The award aims to promote a more balanced view of financial issues and business opportunities across the continent, to empower investors to make informed decisions about Africa, as well as showcasing Africa's success stories.

EVENTS

19. World Press Freedom Day 2008 Conference (May 2-3 2008) Maputo, Mozambique
Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this 2-day conference is being held in Maputo, Mozambique to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. The conference will look at how press freedom contributes to empowerment, the role of community media, and the importance of access to information.

20. Digital Broadcasting and Media Partnership Conference 2008 (April 28 - 29 2008) Johannesburg, South Africa
This 2-day conference on digital broadcasting and media partnerships aims to bring together African journalists to explore narrowing Africa's digital divide and to discuss, in light of new technological developments, partnerships between the different media industries: television, radio, cellular, film industry, and digital broadcasting.

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Related previous issues include:

The Soul Beat 98 - Radio for Social Change in Africa

The Soul Beat 88 - Media Development in Africa: POLIS

The Soul Beat 61 - Media and Development in Africa

To view all previous editions of The Soul Beat Newsletter go to the archives

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