Three SADC journalists each received a 2018 Southern Africa Media Award in Social Accountability Reporting on Thursday 29 November at Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa.
Presented during the gala awards dinner at the 22nd annual Highway Africa conference, the world’s largest gathering of African journalists, recipients Winston Mwale (Malawi), Derrick Chityamba (Zambia) and Josephine Chinele (Malawi) earned first, second and third place, respectively, for their outstanding contribution to investigative reporting on social accountability in the Southern Africa region.
Presented by the Partnership for Social Accountability (PSA) Alliance and Highway Africa, the awards recognise journalists in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia for investigative reporting that contributes to improved services in public health and agriculture, particularly in the areas of HIV and sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and food security.
Currently in its second year, the awards further aim to promote social accountability coverage in the region considering the challenges to good governance, as well as the threat to individuals who dare to report on such issues.
“Information flows are necessary factors to strengthening social accountability practice,” said Lindelwa Nxele, Programme officer of the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM). “Media…disseminate and distribute news that do not only inform the general public of current events, but also investigate issues that affect the state of the nation.”
The third prize story by Chinele, ‘Sexual rituals put Nsanje girls in harm’s way’ puts much needed spotlight on the forced prostitution of young girls to elderly men for sexual cleansing rituals. The front-page article was published on 23 September2018 by The Sunday Times Malawi. “The story stands out because Chinele also questions the traditional authority about what they are doing to stop it,” said Julie Middleton of ActionAid and adjudicator for the awards.
Chityamba’s second place story takes a similar stand as it calls the Zambian government to book for the newly introduced e-voucher solutions system, along with the various challenges it has posed for farmers and agricultural production this year. Chityamaba took the role of co-producer on this in-depth radio piece which aired on Oblate Radio Liseli on 8 August 2018.
Receiving first prize win is radio journalist Mwale. The story looks at a controversy in the Mchinji district of Malawi, where community members accuse the supervisor of a maternity ward construction project of diverting materials to build his own house in the same area.
Highway Africa applauded Mwale at the ceremony, describing his coverage on the diversion of public resources for personal use as a prime example of the vibrant reporting to come out of Zodiak Broadcasting Station. “Within Malawi Zodiak has played a critical role in political transition. It stood firm with all sorts of threats, but they’ve stood strong. And as a veteran, Winston demonstrates a similar resolve”.
All the winning stories can be found at http://copsam.com/regional-media-award-finalists-taking-on-accountability-in-africa/
Partnership for Social Accountability Alliance is led by ActionAid International together with Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF), and SAfAIDS, and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
For more information visit http://copsam.com/psa/. PSA is on Twitter and Facebook at @psaalliance.