Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Because Accountability Counts – A Journalist guide for covering post-elections

Because Accountability Counts – A Journalist guide for covering post-elections in Ghana is one of the key building blocks for Ghana Post-elections Intervention Project whose main objective is to help overcome the challenges and problems affecting citizens' ability to hold elected representatives accountable for promises they make during pre-election campaigns. The guide's main objective is to empower journalists and other stakeholders
with an information and knowledge resource for playing the watch and guide dog role in holding elected officers accountable. It provides an overview of post-elections landscape of Ghana, covering governance, legislative issues, political parties and their manifestoes,ruling party, opposition and governing after an election and provides guides for covering:
1. Parliament, Political Parties, Ruling Government (mapping campaign promises
& manifesto), Opposition and Key Governance Issues
2. Investigative journalism and post-elections coverage
3. ICTs and Covering Post-Elections
4. Covering Budget and Extractive Industries and
5. Lessons to be learned from the post 2007 election crisis in Kenya

Download a copy of the the guide here

Monday, November 29, 2010

From WikiLeaks to paywalls...

WHAT does the extraordinary release over the last few weeks by WikiLeaks of reams and reams of confidential information—the latest is a batch released today of around 250,000 United States diplomatic cables—mean for the media? Embarrassed governments will no doubt level accusations of irresponsible, even dangerous, headline-grabbing. Ordinary citizens will probably react with a mix of cynicism and amazement.

But the commercial question is whether the forest of newsprint devoted to the WikiLeaks' revelations will actually lead to a sustained increase in circulation for the five newspapers given privileged access to the material: the New York Times in America, the Guardian in Britain, Le Monde in France, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany.

Sadly for print journalism, Cassandra suspects any boost in sales will be temporary. The trend, especially among the young, is for news increasingly to be delivered by the computer and smart-phone screen rather than by the printed page. Already Americans use the internet more than newspapers to get their news. So how will the newspapers stay in business? The answer in 2011 is not just that they will smarten up their websites but also that more and more will put those sites—or part of them—behind a paywall. By January or February, even the "gray lady" herself, the New York Times, will be behind a paywall. The question then will be how many will continue, like the Guardian, to resist this "user pays" trend.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Sunday, November 28, 2010

UNESCO and Knight Center wrap up pilot training program for African journalism professors

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has just completed an online course as part of an agreement with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to help journalism professors in Africa with training on digital media.

The course "Teaching Online Journalism" was taught, entirely on the Internet, by Prof. Mindy McAdams, the Knight Chair in Journalism Technologies and the Democratic Process at the University of Florida and an internationally recognized leading expert in digital journalism.

All the 23 professors enrolled in this online course are from schools included in UNESCO's list of potential Centers of Excellence in Journalism Education in Africa. The professors were from nine countries, including Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

"The Knight Center has a very specific mandate to help journalists and journalism educators in Latin America and the Caribbean, but this was an exceptional case," said professor Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas based at the University of Texas at Austin. "We were delighted to cooperate with UNESCO in this pilot project in Africa, as a contribution to our colleagues there."

"Besides the opportunity to have Prof. McAdams, one of the best experts in online journalism training, to teach our African colleagues, we thought this was an opportunity to show a cost-effective model developed by the Knight Center to train journalists and journalism educators via the Internet," Alves added.

The training was part of UNESCO's long-standing commitment to uplifting the standards of journalism education in Africa, by developing global educational partnerships in support of the 20 centers of excellence in journalism education spread across the African continent.

"We were delighted that the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas agreed to provide the training requested for by the centers themselves, as part of their institutional capacity-strengthening efforts," says Jayaweera Wijayananda, director of UNESCO's Division for Communication Development. "We will continue to explore more training opportunities for the centers, bearing in mind that new information and communication technologies (ICTs) are reshaping the way journalism education is delivered. We need a new skills set that responds to the changing technological context in Africa."

Prof. McAdams said the "course ran smoothly."

"Teaching journalism educators about online journalism is not very different from teaching journalists about it," she said. "The difference in emphasis, I felt, was that I needed to persuade them that their students need to know about these techniques and skills now, today."

Prof. Nancy A. Booker, from Kenya, was excited to be involved in her first online learning experience

"The most interesting thing that I learned in the course is how one can use Moodle (the course management system used by the Knight Center in its online courses) without necessarily being in the class room physically. I think that was really fascinating and I hope that I can suggest to the Department of Communication where I teach this approach since it can save us huge costs instead of running satellite campuses the way that we do."

Prof. Booker, who teaches broadcast writing, has also already applied what she learned through the UNESCO course in her classroom.

"For example, just last week I showed my media writing class how to create blogs and they were able to post at least two of their assignments onto their blogs."

The course "Teaching Online Journalism" has inspired Prof. Gideon Tehwui Lambiv to help fellow Cameroonian journalists create original content for online news outlets.

"I shall be proposing to UNESCO-Cameroon Regional Office to organize or sponsor a seminar/workshop in online journalism where media professionals and the media can get some training in online journalism," he said. "This could be an opportunity for me to share the knowledge I have acquired from the course beyond the university and the classroom.

Since 2003, the Knight Center has been training journalists with a pioneering and innovative platform based on Moodle, an open-source course management system. More than 4,400 journalists have participated in the Knight Center's online training programs in a variety of topics.

"I think this successful course taught in collaboration with UNESCO shows that a similar program can be established in Africa and help the current efforts to improve journalism education in many countries on that continent," said Alves. "There are many things that we, who are involved in journalism training in the Americas can learn from our colleagues and Africa, and vice-versa. We should have more of this kind of inter-regional collaborations."

source :  http://knightcenter.utexas.edu/unesco-and-knight-center-launched-pilot-training-program-african-journalism-professors

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ugandan Journalists Get Election Coverage Guidelines

Ahead of Uganda's February 2011 general elections, the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has launched a set of elections reporting guidelines that were developed in consultation with local media houses and journalists' associations.
visit http://www.acme-ug.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=19&Itemid=  to download copy of the guide

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Launch of Because Accountability Counts - A Journalist guide for covering post elections in Ghana and Ghana Post Elections Project

Join us on Wednesday 1st of December, 2010
@ Ghana Journalists Association - Press Center,Accra Ghana
For the launch of
-Ghana Post Elections Project and Online Coverage of parliament
-A new publication - Because Accountability Counts - A Journalist guide for  covering post elections in Ghana
Time : 12.00pm. prompt

The project seeks to overcome the challenges and problems affecting  citizen's ability to hold elected representatives accountable for promises made during elections by matching the ruling government's action and  inaction against their manifesto and campaign promises.

If you are in Accra, Ghana  and able to join us for this launch send a mail to ghana@africanelections.org  or  call 0302 2234015 / Mob: 0241995737

You can connect with the project via
1. SMS  send     AEP to 1957 across all networks in Ghana
2. From outside Ghana Send AEP to +447537401839
3. follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/ghanaelections (regular tweets from parliament)
4. Join us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117355568298287

Project Partners

1. Open Society Initiative for West Africa www.osiwa.org 

2. African Elections Project www.africanelections.org covering elections on  the continent using new media ( a project of www.penplusbytes.org

3. Ghana Journalists Association 

4. The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)http://www.cddghana.org/

5. African University College of Communications http://www.aucc.edu.gh/ 


7. Edge Cube

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Knight News Challenge media innovation contest

Deadline is Dec 1 for Knight News Challenge media innovation contest

If you have an innovative media technology idea, you might be able to get funding from the Knight News Challenge contest.

Run by the Knight Foundation, the grant competition awards up to $5 million annually for innovative projects that use digital technology to transform the way communities send, receive and make use of news and information.

More info can be found here: http://newschallenge.org. The site includes application information, as well as details about past winners.

This year's application deadline is December 1. The News Challenge is looking for applications in four categories: mobile, authenticity, sustainability and community.  All projects must make use of digital technology to distribute news in the public interest.

The contest is open to anyone in the world.

A simple description of the project is all you need to apply. Submit a brief pitch to http://newschallenge.org. If the reviewers like it, you'll be asked to submit a full proposal later.

If you have questions you can a) reference the FAQ: http://www.newschallenge.org/frequently-asked-questions, or; b) check the archived chat transcript here: http://www.newschallenge.org/1026-live (another live chat will be held before the end of the contest period, time/date TBD)

You can follow Knight Foundation at http://twitter.com/knightfdn. The News Challenge Twitter hashtag is #knc

International Institute for ICT Journalism

MTN Group, Western Union sign agreement to introduce cross-border Mobile Money Transfer Service in 21 countries

Service to provide fast, easy, reliable remittances to MTN MobileMoney users anytime, anywhere


ENGLEWOOD, Colo., and JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov. 10, 2010 – MTN Group, (JSE: MTN), the leading mobile operator in Africa and the Middle East, and Western Union, (NYSE: WU) a leader in global payment services, today announced a commercial agreement to introduce international mobile remittance services in the 21 countries where MTN operates.


Once introduced, the service will allow MTN subscribers to conveniently send and receive Western Union Money Transfer® transactions using their MTN MobileMoney accounts.


The service will first be introduced in Uganda, where MTN's MobileMoney service already boasts over 1 million registered users, making it one of the most successful mobile wallet deployments in the world. According to the World Bank, Uganda receives nearly US$500 million in remittances every year, making up 3% of the country's GDP.


When the new international remittance service is activated, MTN subscribers registered for MobileMoney will be able to receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions in their mobile accounts. In addition, MobileMoney users in certain countries will be able to send Western Union Money Transfer transactions directly from their mobile phones for payout at one of Western Union's 386,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories around the world.


An MTN subscriber who receives a Western Union Money Transfer transaction in his MobileMoney account will be able to use the funds to pay bills, top-up airtime, send money domestically and internationally, or withdraw cash at MobileMoney Agents or any participating ATM.


"The Western Union Mobile Money Transfer service is a key part of our multi-channel strategy to offer our consumers numerous ways to send and receive money," said Khalid Fellahi, Western Union's Head of Mobile Transaction Services. "This alliance with MTN – one of the world's most successful mobile operators – will introduce cross-border remittances to an entirely new segment of customers by allowing them to send and receive money using just their mobile phones."


Pieter Verkade, MTN Executive of MobileMoney, said, "After bringing domestic financial services to many of our customers, we will now enable customers to receive money from abroad on their mobile phones to take out at their convenience with their local merchant, send it to family or pay a bill."


MTN's MobileMoney service is currently available in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda, with pilots underway in several other markets.  The service offers consumers a convenient, secure and affordable way to send money within the same country (domestically), buy airtime and make basic utility payments using their MTN mobile phones. MTN offers the service in partnership with local banks.


Western Union offers the Mobile Money Transfer service in the Philippines with Smart Communications and Globe Telecom; in Kenya with Safaricom; and in Malaysia with Maxis. The company also recently announced an agreement with EnStream in Canada and State Bank of India in India and has other agreements for Mobile Money Transfer with banks in Tunisia, Libya and South Africa.




- Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs



Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: "MTN." As of 30 September 2010, MTN recorded 134.4 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at www.mtn.com and www.mtnfootball.com.



The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services are offered through a combined network of approximately 435,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2009, The Western Union Company completed 196 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $71 billion of principal between consumers, and 415 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

“Funding African Media in an Age of Uncertain Business Models” @ AMLF 2010 Yaoundé, Cameroon on November 18 and 19.

The African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) - the continent's only gathering of top media owners and operators across all platforms: print, broadcast, online and new media - is the flagship programme of the African Media Initiative (AMI), a Pan-African Initiative to promote democratic governance, social development and economic growth by strengthening the continent's media sector. It does so through a strategic set of activities aimed at transforming the sector to become more professional, financially sustainable and socially responsible.

A key characteristic of media development in Africa has been the heavy concentration on journalism support at the expense of addressing the business aspects of media. Experience throughout the continent has shown that many of the constraints regularly identified in the emergence of a professional, financially sustainable and socially responsible media can only be addressed at the owner and operator level.

Yet for too long, owners and operators have sat on the sidelines of media development debates focused mainly on freedom of expression. AMLF was created to address this core issue by involving a diverse and representative group of owners and operators in the development of solutions, reforms and resources to strengthen the media sector so that it can play a meaningful role in the continent's development agenda.

From 55 participants at the inaugural Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2008, the number grew to 185 in November 2009 at the second Forum in Lagos, Nigeria. This year, over 250 chief executives, managing directors, publishers and other media leaders from around Africa and beyond will convene in Yaoundé, Cameroon on November 18 and 19.

The theme of the 2010 AMLF is: "Funding African Media in an Age of Uncertain Business Models". All our teams are hard at work to bring the best African and international expertise to discuss the items in our agenda.

AMLF 2010 Co-Chairs are:
Joyce Barnathan, President of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), USA
Papa Madiaw Ndiaye, CEO, Advanced Finance & Investment Group (AFIG), USA and
Salim Amin, Chairman Camerapix and A24, Kenya.

visit http://www.amlf2010.org/ for more information

International Institute for ICT Journalism