IPDC project priority: Community Media Development

In recent years, Uganda has witnessed a liberalization and privatization of its broadcasting industry. In terms of radio, this led to an opening-up of the airwaves to provide a platform for political discussion among members of the public, giving constituents the opportunity to transmit their views on public policy to their representatives. This has greatly empowered local citizens to enhance their role in policy-making processes. The National Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights in Uganda (NAFODU) has built on this positive trend by collaborating with the Partnership for Transparency...

Community media in Haiti is forced to contend with lack of funding, lack of equipment, and lack of training. In recent years, great progress has been made by the SAKS Foundation in tackling these issues in the creation of community radio stations and Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs). These provide an essential means for local community members to exercise freedom of expression, learn remotely, and develop opportunities for research, multicultural activity and communication. The devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake severely impinged these development attempts, but this project aims...

Despite being accounted for within its Constitution, there is an overall need to address the issues of freedom of expression and freedom of information in Tanzania today. This is of particular concern among the rural population whom, as a result of low literacy levels, are more prone to fall victim to the commercial interests of the majority of media owners. More needs to be done to cater to the information needs of the Tanzanian population, particularly in terms of providing information on social and political matters. Tanzania's Kahama District is one such example of an area where access...

The community radio sector in West, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa suffers from sustainability and capacity shortcomings to actually implement the community radio mission of public service to provide communities with self-help for social, economic and cultural development. Furthermore, national community radio networks organised with the goal of strengthening the organisational development of their members have so far been effective only in a few countries: Ghana, Mali and South Africa. While some national networks have been highly successful in mobilising the community radio...

The Chama district is far away (more than 330 km) from Lusaka, Zambia's capital city where the media industries and institutions are located. The national radio signal barely reaches this province and newspapers: monthlies, weeklies and dailies are a rarity. Most of the citizens of this area end up listening to Malawian radio, even reading newspapers from the same country, which is not ideal for the building of a national identity. The illiteracy rate is very high because of the long distances to schools and the natural barriers like hills and rivers, which lead pupils to drop out of...

A three tiered media structure comprising public, private and community is now in place. However, there are critical issues of concern. First, the guidelines subsume campus radio, community radio and agricultural universities under the same umbrella. This is unrealistic, particularly in the context of management and ownership. Community radio stations in most parts of the world are managed and owned by communities, in contrast to campus and agricultural university radio stations. Other issues of concern are that the guidelines do not permit community radio stations to broadcast news. This...

In Malawi, severe floods occur regularly in six river basin systems. The highest flood frequency has been recorded in the Lower Shire Valley, covering Nsanje and Chikwawa Districts. For the communities living in these areas, better information could considerably lessen human suffering: improved meteorological services giving accurate and timely information about the weather patterns can alert the population to be better prepared for the coming of rains, and hence enable them to move to higher grounds with their livestock to carry educational and medical equipment to safer areas. The...

There are hundreds of CLCs around Nepal, but only a handful of operative and self-sufficient CMCs. A proper network among these centres, starting from fewer districts, could become a fundamental awareness and information channel for communities. Although the quality and diversity of media are increasing in more populated areas, this is not true in remote areas. There, the often illiterate population has to receive information largely from local radio, and not enough quality information is available. CMCs practitioners have not received professional training, some are not well informed...

In Namibia rural dwellers in the remote areas do not have a platform to present their voices of concerns in a language they understand to those delegated with the responsibility to govern them. However, only few indigenous language newspapers currently exist in Namibia, such as the Caprivi Vision newspaper, which is published in English and Silozi and mainly distributed in the Caprivi region. The lack of training skills in news reporting, graphic design, marketing management and the lack of equipment such as printing facilities and computers still hinder the publication from improving its...

Media pluralism is a recent phenomenon in Chad, so much so that, as is often the case in countries in which pluralism of expression is embraced against a backdrop of poverty, the professional challenges are multiple. Today, however, the Chadian media can be viewed as a vanguard in pluralism of expression. Nevertheless, Chadian journalists are threatened and arrested in the exercise of their profession, and the media landscape is characterized by a lack of training among journalists, in writing for radio for production techniques, and among first-level maintenance technicians, as well as a...

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