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Municipal matters reporting gets a facelift

Posted by radio On October - 14 - 2012

By Abongile Zizi

The role community media can play in improving the communication between local government and communities is a vital one and the Eastern Cape Communication Forum has embarked on a project that is set to strengthen it.  It is the media’s responsibility to be the voice of the people and to bridge the communication gap between government and citizens. Community radio and newspapers have a key role to play in community development through facilitating dialog by spreading information that educates citizens on the inner workings of government and their role in participatory governance.

Established in 2006 the Eastern Cape Communication Forum is a non-governmental organisation playing a vital role in the communication network between media and government in the Eastern Cape, it is within this context that the Municipal Matters reporting project operates.  The project is being run in five municipalities in the area and involves community radio stations and newspapers.  ECCF coordinator, Bongi Bozo says the project is starting to yield good results and is now in its second phase. The first phase of the project involved training reporters from participating media organisations on how to report on municipal matters. This training focused on how government structures are set up and how they function in order to know how to access and disseminate the information. The second phase of the project is the enhancing of citizen participation in government and community engagement in newsrooms.

In the Buffalo City and Nquma municipalities the second phase of the project is well under way.  Community Indabas have been organised in these areas. These spaces of dialog are going to go a long way in fulfilling part of the mandate of the project which is to improve municipal reporting and the community engagement of the small local media organisations involved.

 

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