Mmegi Institutional profile

Mmegi Institutional profile

Date: July 1, 2013
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Reflecting Daily Struggles Of Women.

“We endeavour to increase the voices of women in the media”…

Dikgang Publishing Company (DPC), the proprietors of Mmegi and the Monitor was established in 1992. The new company took Mmegi over from Mmegi Publishing Trust, but the trust remains a major shareholder in the newspaper. Mmegi wa Dikgang/The Reporter first appeared in its present form in 1984. Mmegi is the only private daily newspaper in Botswana.

The newspaper is now firmly established as a daily, providing an alternative to the government-owned Daily News. Going daily has entrenched Mmegi’s dominance of the local media landscape, and it continues to be the preferred newspaper for both readers and advertisers. Mmegi has grown exponentially over the last 22 years. From a staff complement of just under 10 people in 1984, it now boasts a staff of over 120 people.

Gender Links and Mmegi have enjoyed a working relationship since the first Gender and Media Baseline Study in 2003, followed by the Glass Ceiling and GMPS Study in 2009. Mmegi also took part in the business unusual training, which revealed fascinating news angles for economics and other media coverage.

Mmegi signed an MOU with Gender Links in 2011 to take part in the Centre of Excellence of Mainstreaming Gender in the Media programme. So far, the media institution has completed the first four stages of the COE process.

The relationship between GL and Mmegi has been mutually beneficial. GL has conducted capacity-building workshops on a broad spectrum of topics for management and staff at Mmegi. These include Sixteen Days of Activism, gender based violence, gender mainstreaming in the media among others.
Mmegi has come a long way in reflecting the daily straggles of women, such as poverty and gender violence. Recently, the newspaper ran a story titled “Raped and shamed”, a tragic story where the CID officers and the suspect made fun of a rape victim. The story sparked heated debates on corruption and the response given to rape victims as they report their cases to law enforcement services. Follow link to read story.

With the intervention from Gender Links, the institution has managed to restructure their news and production content, making it more gender aware. The institution has been reviewing its editorial policy to ensure that gender is incorporated at all levels. This is being realigned to the gender action plan which Mmegi generated during the COE in-house workshop.
“We are hoping that after the review has been finalised by the board of directors, there will be an increase in the number of women sources in the publication, and that we will help make gender equality a reality. At the moment, the number of single sourced stories is still sitting at 73%; we hope to see that number reduced as well,” said Maureen Odubeng.
There have been a few challenges faced by the institution which have actually made the Gender mainstreaming process seem like an uphill battle. One major challenge has been that of financial resources to hire new staff and conduct specific gender programmes. The institution has not carried out any recruitment since 2012.
The institution has begun an exercise of drafting a sexual harassment policy. Sexual harassment is mentioned in the institutional code of conduct; the clause, however, does not clearly state the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken. So far, this is a silent issue in the institution, and with no policy in place most of the cases have been left unresolved.

The self-monitoring and evaluation tool designed by Gender Links has not been put into full use, mainly because there was no specific person identified to carry out the task. Again, this was attributed to the lack of resources in the institution. The institution has however identified an intern to carry out the monitoring.

A lot is yet to be achieved in terms of gender mainstreaming at Mmegi. However, with the level of buy-in obtained from top management and the board of directors, the institution has assured GL that it will implement the action plan that accompanies the gender policy.



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