I s s u e  6 0  -   J u n e ,  2 0 0 4

The costs of press freedom in Moz...
Children's Celebration on Air
Development Sucess and Continued...
Capacitating Media Women

The Costs of press freedom in Mozambique

Most people use to consider the Mozambican Media Law (law nr.18/91 August 10) as one of the most liberal legal framework approved for the media in Southern Africa and in the whole African Continent. However, generalized complains are also common among the media organizations, against the economically high costs incurred, when it comes to importation of newsprint, payment of the printing as well as transport and communications.

With the view to make an up-to-date inventory and 'analysis of. the main constrains prevailing in this context, the Media Project has just commissioned a study, in collaboration with a new partner, the' Association of Media Enterprises (AEJ) on "the costs of press freedom in Mozambique". The study concentrated on analyzing the existing opportunities and pitfalls in connection with prorluctio,n costs, communication, transport and distribution, both for print media and broadcasting - radio and television. The consultant, Mr. Eduardo Sitoe, when presenting the preliminary findings of the study to a large group of media operators as well as representatives from government institutions, called attention for the following, sensitive points:

1. In general, the legal and political environment is positive, for the development of a free and potentially sustainable media;
2. Some positive specific regulations have been put in place by the government, especially as indirect subsidy to printing houses, with potential to cut down the costs of press freedom;
3. No matter the incentives the State may put in place, real and long. benefits to the media will always require that they take coordinated measures among themselves, to lobby and negotiate with effectiveness.

The study was carried out 13 years after the Parliament approved the present media law in 1991, ana the participants highly praised the preliminary findings presented by the consultant.

Childrenīs Celebration on Air

On June 1 nearly 700 children gathered in a festival organized by the community radio in Homoine, Radio ARCO, in the province of Inhambane. The objective of the festival was not only to celebrate the Day of the Child, but also to sensitize the community to the importance of child education through radio - and to look for ways of effectively using the radio as a tool for development of this important group.

The festival included numerous activities, among others storytelling, songs, drama, a competition on cultural issues as well as other cultural expressions. All of this was transmitted live on the radio for two hours.

The Children's Festival was developed with the support from local institutions offering school materials, cookies, candy and balloons.

Development Success and Continued Challenges

...was what was found during the final evaluation workshop on May 12, called to assess the process and the results of a programme on institutional capacitation with selected print media. The participatory management capacitation process has taken place since April 2003 and the participants in the programme are the newspapers "Amanhecer" from Lichinga, "Demos" based in Maputo, "Faisca" from Lichinga,. "Whampula Fax" of Nampula and "Vertical" from Maputo.'

The capacitation programme consisted in furnishing the media with important tools for their work with the objective of being able to take a qualitative jump. Concretely the management tools developed are strategic plans, a style book and a guide on rules on financial and administrative procedures. These tools were developed through a coaching process, where the idea was for the individual medium to effectively integrate new and more effective work methods than those initially registered.

The representative from the five media present at the evaluation workshop agreed in their conclusion that the process, run by a consulting firm recruited by the media project, had achieved its objectives and t~gets set.

Another result of the workshop was the agreement the need for- continued backstopping and monitoring of the implementation of the consolidation of the new procedures and work routines in the editorial, administrative and management areas.

Still, in the wake of the capacitation programme, the five media now constitute a small network that pretends to continue to meet their problems together, be it in the area of training and exchange of experiences as well as in the area of sharing news stories.

Capacitating Media Women

Based on an extensive process of needs identification, profiling and development of selection criteria a number of media women have been selected to benefit from the specific component of the media project geared to strengthen women's capacities' and thus role and importance in the Mozambican media.

The winners of this process will soonest be announced, facilitating the start of management courses, internships outside of Mozambique as well as scholarships for master studies.