New Challenges for Freedom of Expression  

New Challenges for Freedom of Expression
The new year is a time to reflect on the year that passed, and to plan for how to continue to improve work and conditions in the new one. A lot of concrete action has taken place in the area of media development in Mozambique: from our own 'world' this year has meant that we supporting eight instead of three communities developing Community Radio stations, and providing institutional support to five Community Radio Stations already on air.

Besides from this two of the three groups working to develop Communication Centers for the independent press have signed contracts with us, and are presently equipping their centers with computers with internet connection, printers, copiers, scanners and fax. Our project has further supported the independent print media through a paper-fund, and the development of a framework for a paper purchase center. This support has seen two A4 newspapers move on to "real" newsprint tabloid formats.

Furthermore our project is finalizing the support Radio Mozambique with transmitters for the Gaza province: one FM transmitter to ensure reception of the national pro-grammes and an AM transmitter for the new provincial delegation to be established. Finally a major study of Journalism Education and Training has just been finalized, which will inform a national seminar on the subject to take place in April 2001. Besides from the work of the UNESCO project many other actors have supported Media Development in Mozambique. Just to mention a few developments: ICS and the Ministry of Agriculture are establishing 7 Rural Radio and TV stations, ICS is establishing one more stations in Tete, has seen one go on air in Manica and has together with IBIS finalized the preparations for one more station in Zambezia. The development of participatory formats for children on Community Radio is being developed by IBIS in collaboration with ICS in Zambezia, and the ICS has just opened their UNFPA supported community radio training center in MAPUTO.
 Unfortunately the year has also witnessed the difficulties encountered by journalists who speak out too openly, several severe cases have been reported from assassination over a tongue cut out of a radio journalist to an increased number of threats. In this environment the added number of communication media available is a very important and promising step, increasing the access to information from more sources and possibilities to exercise the constitutional right to Freedom of Expression. What remains a challenge to all of us involved in Media Development is ensuring that the content of the new media will have a quality level that makes them convincing, continuing to pave the ground for a well-informed, open, democratic debate!

Media Development Project c/o UNESCO, P.O.Box 1397 Maputo, Mozambique
Tel. + 258.1. 498752/ 490840 Fax +258.1.498717