Alaudin Osman – Malawi

Alaudin Osman – Malawi

Date: July 1, 2015
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Alaudin Osman, fondly known as ‘Al’ by colleagues and friends, is the Media Manager at Capital FM. Al joined the media industry in 1976 after obtaining his Master’s degree in Media studies.

On 29 March 1999, Al launched Capital Radio, and it was in 2000 when he met Colleen Lowe Morna and her team, who visited Capital FM to do research on the representation of gender in the media. Although it was a positive and important catalyst in Capital’s journey toward gender equity, he remembers it as one of his worst experiences. “My first encounter with the Gender Links team was really embarrassing, since at the time Capital Radio was dominated by men and there were so few women in all departments, they represented only 20%”. Al realised that it was crucial to catch up by employing more women to balance up the workforce. Al also recognised that it was not merely about the demographic profile of the institution, but also about the nature and quality of content that the station produced.

Capital FM is not only a hit music station, but also a news and information service that strives to fulfill its civic duty, to provide a platform for all Malawian people to express their views and to improve their capacity as active citizens. Al realised that without mainstreaming gender at all levels, beyond mere representation, and without actually giving women a voice as journalists and sources, his station would not live up to its civic responsibility. In order to accomplish the station’s vision of truly reaching out to disadvantaged people as well as targeting youth, a lot needed to change.

Following his encounter with Gender Links, Al felt motivated to increase the number of female employees at the station. His commitment has led to tangible strides in increasing the number of women in all departments. “I believe we have certainly made tremendous achievements in gender equity, since women currently constitute over 40% of the workforce.”

Al attributes his dedication and inspiration to make a difference from the skills he learnt from GL, as well as the committed team of female employees who persevered in bringing about change. Always appreciating the ideas his team offers, AL acknowledges that change is a collaborative process of both teaching and learning, “My best experiences were attending media courses, learning social media from the younger generation and nurturing the skills of young reporters”. He also acknowledges the wisdom his late mother imparted on him and the unwavering support and guidance of his wife Hazel.

The newsroom’s editorial policy now requires that content prioritises female voices and that programmes address issues that directly affect women. In this way, with Al’s drive, Capital Radio has contributed to the increase of women represented in the media, as well as encouraging gender mainstreaming in other spheres of society through Public Service Announcements and radio promotions.

Al pledges to play a bigger role in promoting media diversity and encouraging further discussions around gender, “Not only as a media manager, but as a man I have a major role to play in influencing and encouraging fellow male representatives in the management to balance the playing field for male and female employees in all departments. We need to work toward achieving a 50% representation of women at Capital Radio”.

It is not only telling that under his management the National Media Institute of Southern Africa has voted Capital Radio as The Electronic Media House of the Year for three consecutive years, but more importantly Al’s colleagues revere him as a gender champion who never stops driving the cause.


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