Issue #: 
June 14, 2012

In this issue of The Soul Beat:



This issue of The Soul Beat includes a selection of programme experiences, research reports, and evaluations from the Soul Beat Africa Democracy and Governance theme site that highlight the role of the media in promoting democracy and governance (D & G) in Africa. It also includes a list of tools and guides for the media and journalists working to promote D & G on the continent.  

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1. Rural Radio Debates - Uganda
Initiated by Panos East Africa in July 2009, with support from the Deepening Democracy Programme, this is a two year project working to support rural radio stations to engage with communities by providing them with a platform to voice their views and engage with leaders on issues of democracy and development. The project is working with 20 radio stations across Uganda to build their capacity to develop content on relevant local issues, and equip radio stations to promote debate on various development topics.

 2. Media, Empowerment, and Democracy in East Africa (MEDIeA) - Kenya and Tanzania
Started in 2009 and scheduled to end in 2013, MEDIeA is a collaborative research programme between Roskilde University (RUC) in Denmark, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, exploring the role that civil-society-driven media and communication technologies can potentially have in enhancing participatory governance processes in East Africa.

3. Liberia Women Democracy Radio - Liberia
Launched in August 2010, Liberia Women Democracy Radio (LWDR) is a community radio station based in Monrovia, Liberia that focuses on raising the voices of women and increasing women's access to information. Implemented by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee and the Young Women's Christian Association, the radio station seeks to highlight gender issues and to provide practical training and exposure to female journalists. According to organisers, Liberia Women Democracy Radio is the first radio station to focus on women's issues and women’s empowerment.

4. West Africa Democracy Radio - Senegal
Based in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) is a trans-territorial radio station set up to facilitate the exchange of development information between and among countries of West Africa. Initiated by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), WADR's mission is to promote and defend the ideals of democratic and open societies, advocate for mutual understanding and respect between and among individuals and communities, promote peace, transparency and accountability in governance, regional economic integration, as well as socio-cultural development amongst the people of the region.




As stated in a recent article about the elections in West Africa, one of the essential ingredients for a lively democracy are citizens that are schooled in democratic principles as this allows them to play an active role in protecting democracy against anti-democratic forces.

See "Senegal, Mali and Democracy: Lessons for West Africa's New Democracies" by Oladayo Olaide, Open Society Initiative for West Africa OSIWA

  • Firstly, do you agree?
  • What role are the media and other communication initiatives (eg.thoseusing mass media campaigns, community media, interpersonal communicationetc.) playing in promoting active citizens and by extension civic education in Africa? Let us know about your projects/activities or other projects you know about.  
  • What has made some of these initiatives successful and what havebeen some of the challenges?
  • What else can and should be done by the media and communicationpractitioners working in the field of D & G to promote active citizens and successful civic education initiatives?

We would love to hear about your views, experiences and ideas. If you are already a member of the Soul Beat Africa D & G network, you can log in here to participate. 

To register yourself, click here (select Join Soul Beat Africa: Democracy and Governance Network) or you can email us with your details at and we can do the registration for you.




5. Texting, Tweeting, Mobile Internet: New Platforms for Democratic Debate in Africa
By Tom Sarrazin
This report, published by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in January 2011, examines the sustainability, ethics, and quality, as well as the role of development co-operation, of citizen journalism in Africa. The study defines this kind of journalism as that produced by non-professionals and notes that it makes use of a wide range of tools including social media, the internet, and mobile phones to fill existing gaps in conventional news coverage.

6. Reporting Tax Research: Connecting Researchers and Journalists for Improved Media Coverage and Debate in Kenya
This case study describes some of the methods and activities developed by Relay, a Panos London-managed media and research communication programme, to improve Kenyan reporting on government accountability and transparency in relation to the collecting and use of tax in the country. As part of this, Relay held workshops to build journalists' research skills to find and communicate stories, and foster relationships between journalists, researchers, and civil society actors. According to the case study, greater transparency is essential to improving governance in Kenya and the media has an important role to play in this.

7. Natural Resource Management in West Africa: The Role of Civil Society and the Media
This document, published by the West African Resource Watch (WARW), reviews the role of civil society organisations (CSO) and the media in the accountable, equitable, and sustainable management of natural resources in seven West African countries. Based on interviews with organisations and journalists, the document concludes that CSO influence on, and media oversight of, extractive industries has been minimal. A shortage of resources prevents CSOs from conducting research to enhance their advocacy efforts while also preventing journalists from producing in-depth coverage.



Africa needs a continental media network for journalists working on issues related to democracy, governance and human rights.

  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Not sure

To vote and add comments, click here.

The poll can also be found on the right side of the D & G themesite homepage.



8. Interactive Radio for Justice: Impact Assessment Report

By Sarah Katz-Lavigne
This report, published by Interactive Radio for Justice (IRFJ) in 2011, details the results of the second year of an assessment carried out in June 2009 to study the impact of the IRFJ project on audiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as at the international level. The assessment was also designed to review the improvement of the project's impact on intended audiences, drawing on the lessons learned during the first year if the project. This report outlines lessons learned, recommendations made during the first year, the interactive process of implementing recommendations, and finally an analysis of the results of that implementation.

9. A National Conversation: Mid-Term Review
By Mary Myers
This report shares findings from a mid-term review of "A National Conversation", a 5-year BBC Media Action (previously BBC World Service Trust) project to enhance media's capacity to cover governance issues by increasing transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in media in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. The report notes that the BBC Media Action has taken on an ambitious task and is delivering an innovative and, at times, highly sensitive project with commitment, hard work, attention to high standards, and efficiency.

10. Assessment of Media Activities in Chad and Niger under the USAID Peace Through Development (PDEV) Program
By Karen Greiner
This report documents the results of an end-line qualitative evaluation in Niger and Chad on the media component of the Peace through Development (PDEV) programme, implemented by Equal Access in collaboration with the Academy for Educational Development (AED), now FHI 360. According to the report, one month of field research, including interviews, observation, and focus groups with radio programme listeners, partner radio station staff, and training programme beneficiaries, indicates that the ongoing media and outreach activities of the PDEV programme continue to strengthen and expand the existing civic culture in Niger and Chad.




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11. Women in the News: Strengthening the Voice and Visibility of Women in the African Media's Coverage of Elections, Politics and Governance
By Patricia Made
This toolkit, published by Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa in December 2009, is a product of the multi-faceted "Strengthening the Voice and Visibility of Women in Elections in Africa" project. Through linked communications and training activities the project aims to achieve higher visibility of female candidates in the media during election processes. To assist with this objective, this toolkit seeks to provide a framework for training that is designed for women politicians and the journalists who cover them.

12. African Media Barometer - The First Homegrown Analysis of the Media Landscape in Africa
The African Media Barometer (AMB) is an in-depth and comprehensive description and measurement system for national media environments on the African continent. The AMB is a self-assessment exercise based on criteria derived from African Protocols and Declarations such as the "Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa" (2002) by the "African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights". The instrument was jointly developed by fesmedia Africa, the Media Project of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Africa, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in 2004. Reports are available for download from 2005 to 2011.

13. Speak Up, Speak Out: A Toolkit for Reporting on Human Rights Issues
This toolkit from Internews is both a human rights reference guide and a workbook for journalists and civic activists - especially those working in situations of war or conflict, or in post-conflict areas where human rights violations continue to occur - who want to improve their ability to report on human rights issues in a fair, accurate, and sensitive way. It grew out of the Internews Global Human Rights Program, which aims to provide journalists in developing countries with the skills, knowledge, and tools to report responsibly on human rights issues and generate innovative coverage of these topics.

 14. Responsible Media Coverage of Elections: A Training Guide
This guide, published by Radio for Peace Building Africa in October 2011, is designed for journalists covering elections on the African continent, particularly in situations of extreme tension or post-conflict reconstruction. It was produced to encourage good journalistic practices before, during, and after elections in order to manage conflict that can arise during this transitional period.

15. Médias & Bonne Gouvernance en Afrique: Concept et Cas Pratiques
This book, published in French by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010, presents an overview of case studies on media and good governance. The book contains articles by intellectuals and journalists from eight African countries: Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Mali, Senegal, and Togo. According to the publication’s introduction, freedom of expression constitutes an essential component of peace and democracy. Not only does media provide a space for free expression, it also contributes to the formulation of public opinion related to political, economic, social, and cultural issues at all levels of society.

16. Media Toolkit for Local Governance in Lesotho
By Paul J.M Van Hoof
This Media Toolkit is designed to encourage media coverage of news and events in Lesotho’s rural areas at local government level. According to the publication, to improve such media coverage there is a need to focus both on the providers and the collectors of news. The first part of the toolkit focuses on journalists covering local governance-related news items. It is intended as a workbook for journalists at community and district levels throughout the country so that media coverage enhances people’s understanding of the local government system. The second part is intended for local government officials and non-governmental organisations, assisting them to make more effective use of the media to achieve their objectives.

17. Human Rights and Peace Building: A Media Toolkit for Journalists
Published by Panos Eastern Africa in January 2010, this media toolkit is designed to support and build capacity of journalists to disseminate information and promote debate on human rights and peace building issues. The toolkit explains that 98% of Uganda’s population listens to radio as their main source of news. With approximately 200 radio stations licensed at the end of 2008, radio is a powerful tool to communicate, and mobilise community action. However, authors say the radio industry in Uganda still has a long way to go in building a critical mass of professional staff who understand the media landscape.




For more knowledge and resources on Democracy and Governance and communication, visit Soul Beat Africa's Democracy and Governance Theme site.

On the homepage under Recently Shared by Priority Theme, click on the title "Media and D & G". This will take you to the full list of knowledge related to Media and D & G on the site. 




See these previous e-newsletters related to Democracy and Governance:

The Soul Beat 190 - Citizen Action and Government Accountability

The Soul Beat 174 - Media Freedom and Development in Africa

To view ALL past editions of The Soul Beat e-newsletter, click here.



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