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Elections Reporting in Malawi


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Three workshops (Mon 29 - Tues 30, Mar 2004; Mon 19 - Tues 20, April 2004; Mon 26 - Tues 27, April 2004) were held in Malawi to prepare journalists to report on that country's elections in March and April. Presented in the towns of Lilongwe and Blantyre for print and electronic journalists , hands-on training was provided to offer insight into the tricky field of reporting elections. The Malawi elections were held in May.

The Elections Reporting programme is part of a workshop series. In conjunction with MISA, ACCORD and the International Journalist Federation (IFJ), the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is conducting a comprehensive series of journalistic skills development workshops on election reporting throughout the region.

During the course of 2004, five countries within the southern African region host national elections. These include Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa. This important act for any democracy demands distinctive preparation and extraordinary skills from the media covering the event. Our workshop series focuses on the uniqueness of elections reporting and also sensitizes journalists to issues such as ethics, gender equality and peculiar technical or circumstantial obstacles facing reporters of print and radio especially at that time.

The workshops started already in 2003 with editors of various media from the respective countries working together in a three day workshop. They compiled and developed a code of conduct for election reporting.

In a second step, journalists and reporters from those media houses attended a four day workshop to get familiar with the code, the general necessities of reporting elections and insight into the electoral rules, institutions, political parties and programs in the respective countries.

In a third step a series of national follow up workshops takes place a few weeks ahead of the elections in the different countries.

In a fourth step the reporting of participants on electoral issues will be analysed by independent researchers. The South African Media Monitoring Project was engaged by KAS to look at the participants' work and evaluate their skills in terms of reporting on electoral issues.

The results of the monitoring, as well as qualitative feedback regarding obstacles that participants experienced during elections reporting will be discussed with reporters and their editors at a joint conference later next year. This intervention will provide deeper insight into the needs of journalists and help improve electoral and political coverage in Southern Africa.

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Lilongwe & Blantyre, Malawi


Gaby Neujahr

Gaby Neujahr bild

Former Head of the Media Programme Sub-Sahara Africa