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Recent Knowledge on Soul Beat

  <h4>A Research Report</h4>
Author: 
Terje Skjerdal
Mulatu Alemayehu Moges
Publication Date
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Affiliation: 

NLA University College (Skjerdal); Addis Ababa University (Moges)

"Normally we would argue that journalism is the answer. In the case of Ethiopia, media is also becoming part of the problem. The state of the media in the country is deeply disconcerting." - Søren Østergaard Sørensen, International Programme Manager, Fojo Media Institute and International Media Support (IMS)

This report examines how media outlets in Ethiopia are contributing to ethnic polarisation in the country. Commissioned by Fojo Media Institute and International Media Support (IMS), the study combines in-depth interviews with key media professionals with an analysis of the media coverage of eight major incidents in 2019. Based on the findings, the authors argue that ethnic and political agendas are at risk of being at odds with media professionalism and are causing tensions between ethnic groups, instead of acting as a unifying force.

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://www.mediasupport.org/news/new-study-documents-ethnification-of-the-ethiopian-media/" 0="a:0:{}" target="_blank">Click here in order to download this 60-page report in PDF format.</a></div>
Source: 

IMS website on January 20 2021; and emails from Mulatu Alemayehu Moges and Terje Skjerdal to The Communication Initiative on January 20 2021.

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The Our County - Our Responsibility!: Community Media Mobilising for Accountability in Kenya pilot project worked with community media in Kenya to support them in increasing civic participation, awareness, and transparency related to the planning and implementation of development policy goals. The main focus of the project, which ran from 2019 to 2020, was to build the capacity of radio stations and theatre groups located in 8 counties (Nairobi, Samburu, Homa Bay, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Isiolo, Kajiado, and Wajir) to be able to inform communities on how their local government works, how development plans are created, and how they are implemented. The project was implemented by the Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET), Jesuit Hakimani Centre, and Catholic Media Council (CAMECO), with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Communication Strategies: 

The project worked to increase citizens' engagement around the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), which are developed every 5 years to define the development areas, goals, and budget lines for each county. According to the Kenyan Constitution, the development measures set out in these documents should reflect the priorities of the citizens based on participatory processes in which citizens are consulted.

However, the results of research conducted by the pilot project confirmed what had already been shown in supra-regional research: The concerns of citizens were not reflected in the measures that have been decided upon in the CIDPs. The majority of the population were not informed that so-called citizens' forums were taking place in which the plans were to be presented and discussed. The CIDPs were also not accessible two weeks prior to the forumns, as prescribed. The time frame for the forums was extremely limited and left little room for dialogue and participation. In addition, the use of technocratic language and the complexity of the budgetary procedures were largely incomprehensible to those present, so that authentic and critical involvement by citizens was hardly possible. The research concluded that the "open government - open data" approach propagated by the government is being inadequately implemented. Accountability is largely neglected by county governments, and transparency is not established with regard to either the planned or the implemented development projects.

In order to address these shortfalls, the project engaged local media, which are considered best placed to promote participation in debates and to discuss the management of public affairs, as they have the most immediate and direct access to people, especially in rural communities. To achieve its objectives, the project had 2 key components:

  • Research - The project undertook research in all 8 counties to identify current community participation levels in government, as well as the main issues that communities wanted to have addressed. Based on this research, the project produced fact sheets [PDF] (example in link is for Nairobi county only) for each county, which were distributed to the radio stations in that country. Each fact sheet included information on the development priorities that were identified by citizens in the research, as well as the budget breakdown as per the county CIDP.
  • Training and information to community media and theatre groups - Radio stations and theatre groups in each county received training that covered topics such as the CIPD process, the mandate and role of public officials, budget cycles, processes of public participation, and the importance of mobilising communities to attend public county forums. Over the course of the project, these topics were addressed in 42 radio productions and 24 theatre plays. In addition, community media were supported with county-specific background materials (including the fact sheets mentioned above, posters, and county brochures), as well as tailor-made media content development trainings and productions at county level. In particular, training was given to radio talk show hosts who were in the best position to highlight issues related to the CIDP process in their programming. All programming was also packaged in different languages to ensure maximum participation, especially of rural communities.
Development Issues: 

Democracy and Governance, Media Development

Key Points: 

According to KCOMNET, the project has shown positive results in increasing civic participation, awareness, and transparency around how local government budgets are spent. The participation of citizens in public forums at county level was increased by an average of 50%, and weaknesses in the information policy of district governments were revealed.

Going forward, the project identified a need for more well-researched development-related programming, more "stories behind the data", and the need to fact-check the truth behind statements made by officials being interviewed. In response to this, CAMECO has developed, in cooperation with the radio network and Code for Africa (CfA), a follow-up project, which is planned from October 2020 until the end of 2023. The new project, "Our County - Our Responsibility: Telling Data Stories - Revealing Citizen's Realities", includes training schemes (e.g., in research techniques, data journalism, and solution-oriented reporting) and the design of an information technology (IT)-based online tool (County Data Information System - CDIS), whose purpose will be to create data transparency for the development schemes of county governments.

Partner Text: 

Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET), Catholic Media Council (CAMECO), Jesuit Hakimani Centre (JHC), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Contacts (user reference): 
See video
Source: 

CAMECO website on December 4 2020. Image credit: KCOMNET via Instagram

Publication Date
Thursday, July 1, 2021

"The most common democratic violation in relation to the pandemic was media restrictions. Populist governments have continued to threaten democracy by attacking the free press."

The Global Expression Report, published annually by ARTICLE 19, is a worldwide data-informed look at freedom of expression. By tracking freedom of expression indicators, the report reflects on not only the rights of journalists and civil society but also on how much space there is for individuals and members of organisations to express and communicate: how free a person is to post online, to march, to research, and to access the information they need to participate in society and hold those with power to account.

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://www.article19.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/A19-GxR-2021-FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">Click here for the 87-page report in PDF format.</a></div>
Contacts (user reference): 
Source: 

ARTICLE 19 website, November 12 2021. Image credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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What has our response to COVID-19 taught us?

... As a civil society organisation that does not work on service delivery, we at Breakthrough debated our community response to COVID-19 endlessly. The voices pouring out of black boxes on my Zoom screen were frustrated and angry. My colleagues said, "We are fighting several pandemics at various levels, as technology and social media has made misinformation fly at a rapid rate. This has made it difficult for us to get back the rapport we generally enjoy with the communities with whom we work. We are now being viewed with suspicion because we are talking about vaccines and treatments."

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Author: 
Nik Stoop
Kalle Hirvonen
Jean-Francois Maystadt
Publication Date
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Affiliation: 

University of Antwerp (Stoop); University of Leuven (Stoop); Research Foundation Flanders, or FWO (Stoop); International Food Policy Research Institute (Hirvonen); Université catholique de Louvain, or UCLouvain (Maystadt); Lancaster University (Maystadt); Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, or FNRS (Maystadt)

"Recognising the extent to which a lack of institutional trust jeopardises vaccination campaigns is crucial to improve immunisation rates."

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://gh.bmj.com/content/6/4/e004595" target="_blank">Click here to read the article online or to download it in PDF format (9 pages).</a></div>
Contacts (user reference): 
Source: 

BMJ Global Health 2021;6:e004595. Image credit: pxfuel

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Author: 
Karen O'Connor
Josephus Kongo
Publication Date
Thursday, June 1, 2017

"BBC Media Action's governance work aims to support more accountable, peaceful and inclusive states and societies."

This report presents the findings of an evaluation of a media project implemented by BBC Media Action in Sierra Leone. It reflects on the impact the project has had on the broader governance system and, in particular, on improving accountability. The project was implemented between 2012 and 2016, which falls within a time when Sierra Leone was hit by the Ebola crisis, leading to increased socioeconomic hardship in the country and an increased need for accountability. The project formed part of the Global Grant governance project, a five-year grant of the United Kingdom (UK) Government's Department for International Development (DFID) (see Related Summaries below for evaluations of other country programmes that were part of this grant).

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://dataportal.bbcmediaaction.org/site/assets/uploads/2017/07/Sierra-Leone-Country-Report-2017.pdf" 0="a:0:{}" target="_blank">Click here to download this 56-page report in PDF format.</a></div>
Contacts (user reference): 
Source: 

BBC Media Action Data portal on March 22 2021.

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Author: 
Justine Limpitlaw
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021

"The stronger the media becomes in a particular country, the better it can fulfil its various roles as a watchdog, detective, educator, good governance advocate and even catalyst for democracy and development."

This handbook identifies and analyses the media laws of 13 southern African countries in order to assess their compliance with best-practice standards related to democratic media and broadcasting regulations. It is the second edition of the Media Law Handbook for Southern Africa published by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Media Programme Sub-Sahara Africa (KAS) and comes nearly 10 years after the publishing of the first edition. This second edition is more extensive and includes three new countries - Seychelles, Mauritius, and Mozambique - and the Tanzania chapter has been enhanced by the inclusion of the media law landscape in Zanzibar.

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://www.kas.de/en/web/medien-afrika/einzeltitel/detail/-/content/media-law-handbook-for-southern-africa-second-edition-1" 0="s:6:&quot;a:0:{}&quot;;" target="_blank">Click here in order to download this resource in PDF format (in three volumes or as individual chapters).</a></div>
Languages: 

English, with some chapters also in Portuguese and/or French

Source: 

KAS website on March 12 2021. Image credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP via Getty Images

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Subtitle: 
An Anthology by the Consortium to Promote Human Rights, Civic Freedoms and Media Development (CHARM) Africa
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
Monday, March 1, 2021

"Journalists alone cannot save journalism, and civil society activists and human rights defenders cannot alone defend civil space."

This anthology was produced as part of the Consortium to Promote Human Rights, Civic Freedoms and Media Development (CHARM) Africa project, which seeks to confront and engage issues related to the shrinking space of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, by strengthening coalition-building between civil society, the media, and human rights defenders in the region.

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://fojo.se/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/FOJO-peoplepowertruth-2021web.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to download this publication in PDF format.</a></div>
Publisher: 
Number of Pages: 

88

Contacts (user reference): 
Source: 

Fojo Media Institute website on March 29 2021; and email from Sofie Byrnes Gullberg to The Communication Initiative on March 30 2021.

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Author: 
Joseph Odindo, Ed.
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

"Power hates scrutiny. Many of those who rule us will pay any price to be rid of critical voices and the news platforms that amplify them."

This book is a collection of 16 autobiographical essays by exiled editors, reporters, bloggers, and other media workers from West, Central, East, and Southern Africa. The essays share their accounts of how their unrelenting conviction to tell the truth forced them to flee their homelands and live in exile.

  <div class="field button"><a href="https://www.kas.de/documents/285576/285625/Hounded+-+African+Journalists+in+Exile+ONLINE.pdf/76128563-61c4-65ba-f557-fa68947b2fe2?version=1.2&amp;t=1617713853277" target="_blank">Click here to download this book in PDF format.</a></div>
Number of Pages: 

154

Source: 

KAS Media Institute website, April 23 2021.

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Author: 
Nelson Mandela
Publication Date
Monday, February 14, 1994

"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy." - Nelson Mandela

In February 1994, Nelson Mandela addressed the International Press Institute Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. This was during a time when the country was, in Mandela's own words, "convulsed in the pangs of a democracy struggling to be born." An interim new constitution was in place, and Mandela was just three months away from becoming the president of South Africa.

  <div class="field button"><a href="http://www.mandela.gov.za/mandela_speeches/1994/940214_press.htm" target="_blank">Click here to read the full speech online.</a></div>
Contacts (user reference): 
Source: 

Nelson Mandela Foundation website on October 15 2021. Image credit: Nelson Mandela Foundation via Twitter

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Soul Beat Africa: Democracy and Governance Network