Building foundations for quality journalism in Guinea-Bissau

November 9, 2022

Demba Sanhá, CMICS project manager.

UNDP Guinea-Bissau / Joana Rodrigues

In 2021, the Media Consortium (CMICS) and UNDP joined forces with one goal: to enhance quality journalism in Guinea-Bissau.

After several monthly open classes, seminars and investigative journalism scholarships, Demba Sanhá, CMICS project manager, sees a great progress in the students: “this project is filling a very big gap in terms of training. The capacity building activities are improving substantially the knowledge of the journalism students and also the quality of the information in Guinea-Bissau.”

The Media Consortium in Guinea-Bissau was created in 2018, with support from PBF through UNIOGBIS, to boost the media sector and act as a space for all media organizations in the country to come together. CMICS offers, ever since, a technical-professional journalism course and a fully equipped radio and TV studio in Bissau, where students can practice what they learn.

The monthly open classes covered a wide range of topics: from governance to sustainable development, human rights or drug trafficking. The classes were complemented with several full-day seminars on topics such as how to report on COVID-19 or drug trafficking, the role of journalists in a democracy, among others. In addition, investigative journalism scholarships were given to 8 groups of journalists to conduct their investigations in the areas of TV, radio and press.

“Ever since its creation, CMICS has had a unique and very important support by UNDP in all the activities we implement”, says Demba. “UNDP has never left us.”

Journalism in Guinea-Bissau has a strong domain of the radio, which is the most used media in the country. Since most public and private radios are in the capital Bissau, community radios ensure that information reaches the more remote areas of the country. Most of the community radios journalists are volunteers and have no training in journalism. Demba says that CMICS has a lot of requests from the community radios to expand its journalism course outside Bissau, in the regions of Guinea-Bissau. The monthly open classes are broadcasted in 16 community radios to help fulfill this gap and provide training to these journalists from more remote regions of the country. They are also broadcasted live on Facebook, to reach an even broader audience.

“We are aware of the weaknesses of our education system, and so these open classes and seminars will support the capacities of the media professionals and journalism students", says Demba Sanhá. "Our students are being trained to start doing quality and independent journalism – this is our biggest dream and that is what we are fighting for.”