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Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Bloomberg Africa, Ford boost media community with COVID-19 grants - ITREALMS

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The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) and the Ford Foundation have awarded their latest round of funding to strengthen community media on the continent, reports ITREALMS.
Five organizations in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa will receive grants from the BMIA Community Media Fund (BMIA-CMF) to improve training and support the production of independent, reliable news content on issues impacting local communities. 

Additional COVID-19 emergency response grants have also been awarded to two organizations in Kenya and South Africa to directly address misinformation around the coronavirus pandemic.

Independent, local journalism has a critical role to play in providing accurate information about preventing and managing COVID-19 in communities. Local media, particularly radio, played a similar role during the recent Ebola epidemics in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, helping to counter disinformation and overcoming stigma associated with the disease.

In Nigeria, the BMIA-CMF has awarded the Institute for Media and Society a grant. The Conversation Africa in South Africa and the Kenya Community Media Network received emergency funding to support the creation of evidence-based content, including fact-checking around the impact of the pandemic in Kenya and South Africa. The five BMIA-CMF grantees will also use a portion of their grants to create COVID-19 public service campaign.

Erana Stennett, Director, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, said: “The BMIA Community Media Fund was created to improve citizens' access to reliable news, to elevate marginalized voices, and to advance reporting on socio-economic issues that impact regional communities across Africa. As we confront economic insecurity in the midst of this pandemic, access to reliable local news and information has never been more important, or more under threat due to false and misleading information. We hope that our support will help secure the viability of vital community media organizations to protect the communities they serve.”

Innocent Chukwuma, Regional Director, Office for West Africa, Ford Foundation, said: “Community media systems are essential to our democracy as they provide a voice to voiceless communities and present life-saving information to their audience. Yet the COVID-19 global pandemic is threatening the continued existence of these stations. This support from the BMIA Community Media Fund will provide much-needed reprieve to some of these media outlets and help them continue doing their amazing work and impacting lives in the communities in which they operate.”

Dr. Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society, said: “At such a time as this, when a pandemic challenges individual and collective capacity, this initiative helps to uplift national institutions and processes. Developing and activating the capacity of community journalists to engage natural resources management will refuel the media and re-energize governance far into the post – Covid-19 era.”

Ayo Midele/Editor

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