Madagascar: talking about citizenship on the radio

September 29, 2016

A training course on designing "citizen awareness" programmes took place in Antananarivo on 12-24 September 2016. This was the first training course to be held under the Madagascan Citizens' Dialogue project.

Ten radio journalists from four provinces around the island took part in the course, which began with two days of information led by academic experts and members of civil society organisations such as the Liberty32 collective and the rural campaign group SIF (Solidarité des Intervenants sur le Foncier).

Tutored by a two-man team of experts, Emmanuel de Solère Stintzy and Jean-Hervé Rakotozanany, the journalists then tackled issues of citizen empowerment, such as the role and duties of the village chief in a traditional Madagascan fokontany, Madagascan cultural concepts vis-à-vis contemporary ideas of citizenship and the position of civil society bodies and the media in the public oversight of state action.

The goal was to help the journalists hone their understanding of the ideas of citizenship, democracy and popular oversight and enable them to design radio magazines on raising citizens' awareness to fit in with their overall programming. This involved topics such as how to talk about citizenship on the radio and how to identify the subjects that people find interesting and important.

At the end of the course, the journalists undertook to make and broadcast programmes on new subjects aimed at encouraging listeners to play a more active role as citizens. Topics include civic education in schools, popular participation in local development plans, citizens' responsibilities in the fight against corruption, patriotism and the relations between fokontany chiefs and the public.

A date for the next meeting has already been set. On 10 October, a workshop will begin on designing radio programmes to serve as forums for discussion and civic dialogue.

The Madagascan Citizens' Dialogue project is designed and run in partnership with