For Immediate Release
“The main objective of this program is to strengthen the media in Mozambique, where social communication is still characterized by many gaps, but it has high potential to be unlocked.” Ezekiel Mavota, Director of the Office of Information (GABINFO).
USAID/ Mozambique has recently partnered with the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and with two Southern African universities to develop the Media Strengthening Program (MSP). The MSP will work with media professionals, journalism educators, advocacy organizations and civil society organizations to strengthen the quality of news and information available to citizens. The program will develop innovative approaches to stimulate an open, diverse and self-sustaining media sector that provides Mozambicans with platforms for engaging in informed dialogue encourage accountability and development.
The MSP was launched in 2012 in the Mozambican capital Maputo, and hosted various media professionals. The ceremony was opened by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Douglas Griffiths. Justice Breyer spoke enthusiastically about the importance of freedom of press and expression in the process of holding people accountable and of securing democratic rights. He also entertained the mainly journalistic public with some of his own experiences with the media.
"It is important to protect journalists not only when they are nice to you, but also when they are mean to you." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
U.S. Ambassador Douglas Griffiths, referred amongst other things, to the media’s role in ensuring transparency in public decisions and transactions, particularly with the new mineral resources boom, which might bring prospects for rapid economic development and improved social conditions to the country.
This five-year, US$ 10 million program will emphasize topical issues for the Mozambican environment, such as health reporting, investigative journalism, and elections reporting. Activities include:
• A fellowship program for practicing journalists
• Training courses for media business managers
• Trainings on investigative journalism
• Support for new and emerging media associations in key areas
• Management consulting services to media businesses
• Enhanced journalism education with the School of Communication and Arts (ECA) and the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies in South Africa
IREX Mozambique, led by Arild Drivdal, has also announced the establishment of a legal support fund to help media professionals in situations where they are prevented from carrying out their work, by building a strong support network among journalists, so that any infringement on the rights of any individual journalist be seen as an infringement on the free media overall.
In 2006, IREX started conducting Media Sustainability Index (MSI) studies in 80 countries, including Mozambique. IREX designed the MSI to measure the strength and viability of any country's media sector. Indicators such as quality of journalism, the legal environment supporting freedom of the press and others, are evaluated and rated from 0 to 4. Mozambique’s overall score was 2.36 for 2010 (find out more at http://www.irex.org/region/mozambique).
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Last updated: October 28, 2013