PRESS RELEASE (July 28th 2010)
THE MEDIA SYNERGY IN BURUNDI: AN EXAMPLE OF MULTI-COOPERATION PARTNERSHIP
Building on of its success in 2005, the Burundi media renewed their framework of close-knit collaboration during the 2010 electoral cycle. As an initiative from the French Department of Cooperation, a Common Action plan of Support to the Media (PACAM *) has been implemented to coordinate and harmonize all the initiatives to support the media during the electoral period. “Media Synergy”, a framework of collaboration was supported by the European Union, the United Nations, DFID, AIDS, the Belgium Embassy, the Embassy of Switzerland, the French Embassy and USAID. Therefore media professionals, the Broadcast Regulation Authority (CNC), Self-Regulation body (OPB), CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission), the Ministry of Information, and NGO’s, have combined their efforts and expertise to support the media to offer rigorous, well-balanced information according to recognized professional standards.
The media collaboration framework “Media Synergy” in Burundi: an unparalleled scale. Under the aegis of the Burundian Broadcasters Association (ABR), 15 radio stations and two TV channels to which were added five written publications gathered their means to provide exhaustive coverage on the electoral cycle. It should be noted that the voting did not take place under ideal conditions since the main opposition parties contested the Communal election results and withdrawn from the remaining process. This situation has led to a climate of confusion and violence. The media have been able to keep a “distance" to these events without falling into the trap of "rumors" or "taking sides". In addition, citizens, observers and the political class were not misled and recognized the role the media “synergy” played in regards to impartiality and appeasement, during election tension.
Intensification of radio’s role. Immediate information has been a real "mirror" of the electoral cycle. Co-managed by the ABR under its full editorial responsibility, the media synergy proposed joint campaign news sessions on 15 radio stations on seven days, twice a day, in the four languages in use in Burundi (Kirundi, Swahili, French and English). All the major polls have been covered by continuous broadcast. The media synergy, situated at the Press-House, in the studio of the CERA project of the ABR, emphasized an unprecedented consolidation of the entire media profession. The collective drafting mobilized on average 200 journalists, managers and technicians of whom one hundred were deployed inside the country. From its part, the public TV "RTNB" and independent TV "TV Renaissance" have shared their stories shot, through an "image pool”. In regards to the printed press – including public newspapers ("Le Renouveau” "Ubumwe" and "Burundian News Agency") and private newspapers ("Iwacu” and “Ndongozi") - have also been involved in a specific synergy, publishing joint articles, in French and Kirundi. Besides, "Mbariza Ntore", a weekly publication, published a top-grade print in 6 newspapers, including 2 "web newspapers" on topics related to the political and social context of Burundi.
Intensive support from NGO’s and strengthening of capacity for the media synergy. During the electoral cycle, the “Institut Panos Paris” (IPP) has provided methodological support to management with the ABR cell which was closely associated with SFCG (logistic support). These NGO’s - as many others- also worked during the previous electoral cycle (training in the field of regulation, self- regulation and the development of journalists well as production of thematic synergy programs, articles and TV shows. Adding to those already mentioned, contributions came also from "La Benevolencia" (specific radio productions and print programs through "Pool Pacam"), CERFOPAX-Chaire UNESCO, NDI (decentralized debates - co production broadcast programs "Tomora"), RCN, COSOME. In addition, external operators renowned as CFI and RFI also contributed to upgrade the capacities of the journalists and the TV and radio technicians.
PACAM : (PLAN D’ACTION COMMUN D’APPUI AUX MÉDIAS)
THE FUNCTIONING OF PACAM - France and its diplomatic representation in Burundi have introduced the Common Action Plan of Support for the Media, as a result of a French expert mission (RFI-CFI), on the subject. It aims at coordination and rationalization of the initiatives proposed by media professionals, NGO’s, operators and donors. PACAM, registered in the UNDP framework document for support to the election in Burundi (ProDoc), works collectively, through its steering committee bringing together 12 representatives from professional media organizations, the Broadcasting Regulation Authority (CNC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the Ministry of Information, NGO’s and donors (International Cooperation and UNDP). The steering committee meets regularly once or twice a month.
THE CHARTER PACAM - On 11 February 2010, most Burundi media signed a charter developed by PACAM (commitment to participate in the synergy, compliance with the code of conduct, reaffirmation of the principles of ethics, fairness and respect for pluralism). This charter has served as reference for self- regulation to the media synergy.
ORIENTATION OF THE SUPPORTS OF PACAM - The PACAM defined targets to direct its activities in the interest of complementarity. During the first 10 months prior to the elections, PACAM concentrated its efforts on regulation and self-regulation of the media and training to strengthen the capacities of the authorities, professional associations and media (journalism techniques, "coaching" in situ, legal training, knowledge of the constitutional and electoral texts, management support, etc.). PACAM support was characterized by a significant production of programs to prepare citizens to understand the stakes in the elections. The most remarkable phase was the direct support to the media synergy during the electoral period (campaign, polls and comment-polls). It consisted of precise coordination of the short-term logistical and technical support during the periods of campaign, voting and post-elections.
FINANCING - Estimated at over 2 Million USD, the PACAM was supported by bilateral and multilateral funds and by the UNDP managed "Basket-Fund" The PACAM played its role fully as Coordinator and Fund mobilizer within the different systems and funding criteria of donors. PACAM has also spared no effort to coordinate with the multiple donors, namely BINUB, UNDP, the European Union, the French Department of Cooperation, DFID, AIDS (Swedish Cooperation), USAID, the NDI, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, etc.)
For more details :
Robert MINANGOY – Coordinateur PACAM - : firstname.lastname@example.org
Corneille NIBARUTA – Président de l’ABR - email@example.com