Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), founded in 1993 as the Media Monitoring Project, acts in a watchdog role to promote ethical and fair journalism that supports human rights. It has evolved from a pure monitoring-based project to an organisation that implements successful media strategies for change, using technology, social media and data tools to make its work more efficient and effective.
MMA promotes democracy and a culture where the media and the powerful respect human rights to encourage a just and fair society. Based in South Africa, MMA operates across the African continent.
MMA’s vision is to create a responsible, quality media that enables an engaged and informed citizenry in Africa and the world. It aims to promote the development of a free, fair, ethical and critical media culture across the continent, and to achieve its vision, MMA seeks to address three key areas from a human rights-based perspective – media ethics, media quality, and media freedom.
MMA’s research activities focus on analysing media content and disseminating the findings, analysing media coverage of elections in Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho and Zambia), media coverage of migration, and monitoring and tracking changes in the media coverage of gender-based violence on a local, regional and global scale. Working as the data analyst of the Global Media Monitoring Project, MMA has developed its own software to assist in monitoring gender in the media.
MMA places special emphasis on children in many of its activities.
MADOAT (Make Abuse Disappear Online) is an online media advocacy tool that highlights the best and worst examples of media reporting on children. It helps to push for increased accountability among editors and journalists when it comes to reporting on children’s issues. At the same time, it creates an online opportunity for children to rate the articles and comment on them, thereby also interacting with media. MMA also writes commentaries about stories that violate or promote children’s rights.
The Children’s Monitoring Project promotes and recognises the contributions from journalists that report on children’s issues with an ethical focus and children’s rights approach, and through the Web Rangers digital literacy programme, MMA has since 2016 empowered 450 young South African to be ambassadors of online safety both via online activism and offline advocacy. Hashplay is a website to help children make informed decisions online and provide guidance on ways in which they can protect themselves online. The Hashplay game helps children learn to engage with social media and digital content critically. The Isu Elihle Awards aim to encourage alternative thinking around reporting on children, and to contribute to an environment that enables journalists to expose and highlight issues affecting children in the country and the continent.
MMA’s educational activities include developing tools to assist citizens, journalists and newsrooms, providing a Media Fellowship for both South African and international candidates, and in partnership with Wits Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand, offering an honours level accredited course on Reporting on Children.
Open & Disclose aims to provide a platform for media organisations, journalists, columnists, and commentators to make public their interests, with the aim of strengthening institutional credibility, accountability, transparency, and trustworthiness. In a time of increasing scrutiny of the media, it is critical that journalists and media houses adhere to best practice, which will also serve as an essential means of self-defence.
MMA also implements a range of advocacy, policy and legal activities. Issues covered include media policy (e.g. FPB Amendment Bill, and Cyber Crimes and Cyber Security Bill), journalist-related cases (e.g. SABC 8, Suna Venter cases, protest against SABC appointment procedures), child-related cases (e.g. MMA appeared in court as Amicus to the Van Breda/Media 24 cases), and fundraising for freedom of expression and journalists who are facing serious threats (e.g. Legal Defence Fund).
MMA works with a wide range of funding and project partners, including OpenUp, Open Data Durban, Freedom of Expression Institute, Press Council South Africa, SANEF, SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, Open Society Foundation of South Africa and Google.
In terms of organisational challenges, similar to many other NGOs, MMA is also confronted with the issue of sufficient long-term resources to sustain and expand its activities. MMA’s work is fairly unique and there are few donors who support its focus areas. MMA’s work on children and media remains under-resourced despite clear and overwhelming impact.
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Tel: +27 11 788 1278
Facebook: @mediamattersza / @webrangersSA
YouTube: Media Monitoring Africa
LinkedIn: Media Monitoring Africa
This is the fortieth NGO profile of my 2018 #NGOs4Africa Campaign.