Media as an interlocutor
Media are broad and include all means of public communication such as national newspapers (private, public and government owned), magazines, global, national and community broadcasters, websites, blogs, social networks and virtual communities.
Media are important to good governance in that they start new forms of political conversations, increases freedom of association and provide information. Furthermore, the media are a vehicle for cultural expression, a public watchdog and a key player in the democratic process. They therefore create a powerful communicative platform for citizen-state engagement and are an integral part of achieving transparency, public awareness, informed debate and accountability. As platforms, media put citizens’ values into public spaces where they are debated and evaluated. This allows for learning, reflection and strategy building for citizens.
The Mwananchi programme promotes a media that does not only provide spaces for citizens but also defines and shapes their engagement with the state. This type of media gives reliable reports, portrayals, analyses, discussions and debates on social issues that cater for diverse citizens’ interests and promotes virtues like tolerance and the rule of law. The shaping of public perceptions of citizenship and advocating for participation, accountability and responsibility are some of its roles. This media also engages the state on issues of concern to citizens; listens to public opinions; and facilitates deliberation. In cases where there is conflict dialogue is promoted.
As part of its informational role the Mwananchi programme supports a media that makes policies accessible to citizens by explaining technical language into simpler versions that are easy to understand. Simplicity and clarity in covering public matters is an important role for the media if it is to serve the interests of citizens.