I s s u e  4 7   -   M a y,  2 0 0 3

UNESCO for panishment of crimes against journalists
Radio Mozambique's initial activities started
Media Women's componet set to take off
Independent media capacity building initiated
Monitoring CRs programme's profiles


"Unpunished Crimes against Journalists: A Strategy for Reducing Impunity" was the theme of this years World Press Freedom Day on May 3 celebrations, held in Kingston, Jamaica. To discuss this and other related subjects, UNESCO organised a 2-day International Conference entitled: Freedom of Expression: Early New Millennium Challenges".

In the present times of war and violent conflict, the question concerning the safety of journalists when and because of their professional duties is now being seen as a burning issue worldwide: in 2002 alone, a total of 46 journalists have been killed in 20 countries and territories, with at least 136 other serving imprisonment sentences in 27 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. At least 274 journalists were killed in war zones between 1990 and 2002. In the SADC region, at least 27 journalists have been physically harassed, four were bomb-attacked, and 45 detained, 38 threatened and 40 saw their works censured.

In Kingston, Jamaica, UNESCO - who in 1991 proclaimed May 3 as the World Press Freedom Day, in line with the Windhoek Declaration on Media Freedom - organised a high level International Conference that focused on the "safety of journalists" subject. The Conference brought together media experts and professionals as well as representatives of professional non-governmental organisations and government ministers, who discussed strategies to counter the tendency to let the crimes against journalists unpunished.

The problem of impunity on crimes against journalists gave rise to a UNESCO resolution, adopted on November 12, 1997, which calls on States to remove any statute of limitations on crimes against persons when such crimes are "perpetrated to prevent the exercise of freedom of information and expression or when their purpose is the obstruction of justice".

In Mozambique, the World Press Freedom Day celebrations were jointly organised by the Media Project, MISA national chapter and the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), who gathered journalists and friends for a festive ceremony, during which MISA launched the "Journalists under fire" campaign and the report on freedom of the media status in the region entitled "S this is Democracy?"

Radio Mozambiqu's initial activitis started

The process leading to the strengthening of management capacity of RM's Provincial Delegations, trough the development of individual strategic plans has already started, with initial field missions to Lichinga and Chimoio during March and May.

With a view to facilitate a much open participatory planning process, that should be based on a well know local reality the activities already carried out in provincial capitals of Niassa and Manica consisted of: familiarization with the present evironment around the two stations, including quality of available human and technical resources, the external world, with its opportunities and threats for a sustainable,  mid term vision strategic plan, towards a gradual decentralization of the provinceial stations.

One first, positive indication inspiring for the success of the initiatives relates to the prevalence of a generalized, open atmosphere among all potential local partners, including the public sector in general, now working under three to five year strategic plans, locally designet, and with space to accommodate the communication sector as a whole, the public service radio in the particular.

Media Women's componet set to take off

The Media Project has just reactivated its women journalist's  specific component, in a half day working meeting with women professionals from different media organization and parts of the country in May.

The meeting advised the project to implement the four areas (MA studies and travel grants, training and workshops) component through basic jornalism training courses for junior women journalists, leardership skills development, editorial and administrative management training activities as well as through specific actions designed to stimulate a generally improved gender balance in the editorial producers of the national media.

A small follow-up activities working group was then established integrating the project the Women's Forum and the Media Women Association (AMCS) to draft terms of reference for eligible training courses and correspondence eligibility creiteira for the potencial beneficiaries of the component.

Independent media capacity building initiated

A prolonged, comprehensive and tailor-made management capacity building for independent publications has already started, covering a total of five selected newspapers from Niassa to Maputo, and including Nampula.

The Media Project has subcontracted Afrisurvey a consulting firm, to carry out this process, which main aim is to equip publications with sound managerial skills for their editorial and administrative long term susteinability.The selected newspaperd are: Amanhecer and Faisca, in Lichinga(Niassa), Wampula fax (Nampula), Demos and Vertical (Maputo).

The programme, sheduled to last until the end of the year, has been designed to cover crucial areas such as: the designing of strategic plans, the adoption of style books, financial and administrative routines and regulations.

Monitoring CRs programme's profiles

Is the main objective envisaged with a series of field visits being carried out by a specialist subcontracted by the Media Projec, who has been assisting the community radios with audience researches and assessing the impact of these stations in their respeitive communities. The specialist, NÚlia Taimo, has already been to Chimoio Bagamoio, and Dondo , also establishing simple, but efficient systems to assess listeners opinion on the programming profiles.