Tanzania, February 2019 – Four leaders of media institutions have completed an intensive fellowship, building their knowledge and skills to serve as change agents to strengthen media pluralism in Tanzania, in an environment where the space for free media is shrinking. The Media4Democracy programme Strengthening Institutional Leaders in Support of Media Pluralism was undertaken in close collaboration with the EU Delegation to Tanzania.
Fellows travelled to Copenhagen in September 2018 and were hosted by the Danish Union of Journalists and Danish Media, exposing them to international standards and processes, peer-to-peer engagements and intensive learning.
Media4Democracy Fellowship Coordinator, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, led the group with a rigorous experiential learning course during their month in Europe. Through training and coaching they gained new skills and strengthened their confidence to take on the challenges of leadership within the Tanzanian media sector.
Francesca Silvani, Media4Democracy Capacity Building Expert says:
“One of the most impressive results of the programme was how quickly the four Fellows decided that the most powerful way they could drive change in Tanzania was to pool their combined efforts to create and lead a collaborative platform for change across the media sector. They identified that a stronger, more organised and clear media voice was needed to transform efforts to advocate for the rights of journalists and a free and independent media in Tanzania – and they are now determined to create that voice.”
At the launch of the programme in April 2018 Mr. Bjerregård completed an in-field rapid assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the landscape for media pluralism in Tanzania and identified a pool of potential participants. After the Delegation was briefed on his findings, he supported them in selecting the final group.
When the Fellows returned to Tanzania, they presented the individual projects guiding their work to the Delegation. The group also engaged a wide group of Tanzanian media stakeholders in Morogoro in December 2018, where they led discussions on developing a shared advocacy platform and launched an initiative to systematically collect data about incidents of violations of journalists’ rights across the country.
After four months of mentoring provided by the Fellowship Coordinator following the time in Denmark, Fellows are continuing to spread knowledge, experience and inspiration within their own organisations and across the media sector. Their roles as change agents will be maintained as they advocate for an independent media environment and work to strengthen mechanisms defending the safety, rights and professionalism of journalists.
The next Media4Democracy fellowship will be carried out in collaboration with the EU Delegation to Rwanda, with the launch and a deployment of the assessment mission to Kigali, in January 2019.