Local Media Observation of Mozambique’s Elections

Local journalists working together in Mozambique have overcome many
of the limitations of international and domestic election observation. In a
system developed during three pairs of municipal and national elections
(2003-4, 2008-9, 2013-4), journalists from community radio and other local
media reported to a national daily newsletter on registration, campaigning,
voting and counting while continuing to work for their own organisations.
Reports of local violence and misconduct were published nationally, usually
bringing rapid responses. Evidence from local journalists, together with
continued media pressure, forced elections to be re-run. This led to changes
in the electoral law which reduced misconduct. Two aspects proved central:
accuracy and local knowledge. Nothing was published in the cooperative
newsletter unless it had been verified or sourced, thus providing an effective
counter to exaggerated or false reports on social media. Local journalists
known and trusted in their own communities received complaints about
electoral malfeasance and had appropriate contacts to verify or refute these
claims. Because central editorial control of their reports demands detail and
authentication, these reports are both accurate and trusted. In addition, daily
publication also meant that their reports had more immediacy than that of
other election observers. As a result, this collaboration by local journalists
ensured the accountability of political parties and the electoral system.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: election, fraud, media, monitoring, Mozambique, newsletter, observation
journal of african elections vol17 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa