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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Pangani FM Community Radio among TOP 10 Media in Quality Study

By Mohammed Hammie Rajab
The Yearbook on Media Quality in Tanzania 2018, a research coordinated by the Media Council of Tanzania has now been published. The study was conducted by Spurk Media Consulting Ltd., Switzerland in collaboration with researchers of University Dar es Salaam between September and December, 2017.

The research analyzed a sample of 25 media outlets comprising of print, national radio, local radio, TV and Blogs/Forums applying specific quality criteria which were developed by key media stakeholders in Tanzania. They included:

1. Professionalism (use of multiple sources and coverage of topics beyond official calendar of events);   2. Comprehensiveness (presence of perspectives in a media piece, root-causes and historical background); 3. Understandability (quality of reporting structure and ability to contextualize figures); and 4. Ethics (right to reply conceded to the accused).

A total of 1,886 journalistic units were analyzed from Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

One of the most salient results indicates that local radios’ performance outweighs that of national radios in many quality indicators.  Pangani FM has been one of them ranking eight out of the 25 media institutions including the largest media houses in the country.

Pangani FM is run by UZIKWASA, a local NGO that engages rural communities to find their own solutions to social problems through empowerment and committed leadership. Pangani FM is a key tool in UZIKWASA’s media campaigns that assist Pangani leaders to address problems identified by communities themselves—from oppressive gender norms, sexual violence to rights of education and poor leadership.  Being part of UZIKWASA’s community interventions Pangani FM journalists have continuous access to highly relevant content from local villages.

Through interactive programs the radio engages the people in an ongoing dialogue on social issues. This is reflected in very active community participation through calls and SMS to the station. Pangani FM is trusted by the community who are eager to volunteer to provide information enabling multiple and diverse sources on an issue of concern.

Apart from strong skills in journalism Pangani FM staffs have been trained as facilitators of change who apply reflective methodologies and strategic questioning when they interact with a source.

This has been one of the ‘secrets’ for a meaningful and sensitive dialogue with the community. Regular reflective learning meetings with the radio team enable self-assessment and continuous performance improvement among Pangani FM staff.

UZIKWASA has been providing learning opportunities for a large number of local youth that combine   basic journalism with organizational purpose, values and reflective intervention approaches for social change. Each trainee takes part in the radio’s daily work schedule under the mentorship of a senior radio staff and the Leadership program team.

The young trainees, apart from learning technical skills in journalism, are engaged in UZIKWASA’s gender and transformative leadership program and participate in reflective trainings for their personal development and growth.

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