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Communication and Information Resources

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Communication and Information Sector's news service

Media revolution in Cape Verde

06-02-2007 (Paris)
Fourteen years after the birth of the country’s first private radio station, Cape Verde is making notable progress in promoting press freedom. Measures have been taken to guarantee the public’s access to pluralistic, quality information.
Cape Verde may soon boast six television channels. A fact hardly worth mentioning to a television viewer from the north, accustomed to choosing from a multitude of channels offering information, entertainment, culture, sport, etc., but in Cape Verde, it amounts to an upcoming revolution. As was at the time, just 14 years ago, the creation of Radio Nova, the first private radio station in the country.

Such major change in the media landscape can’t be improvised. Regulations are needed to prevent rule by the strongest prevailing, and to guarantee the public quality and pluralism. Specific texts were therefore adopted, criteria established and procedure set in motion – a jury reviewed the six applications for Hertzian television licenses received by the Directorate for Social Communication (DGCS). The jury took into consideration, for instance, each project’s range of coverage, as national coverage represents a significant asset for a country like Cape Verde, split into ten islands.
New regulations

Helping to set up regulations that are simultaneously fair, appropriate to the context and respectful of freedom of expression is part of UNESCO’s work to promote free and pluralistic media. The Organization therefore contributed legal expertise based on other countries’ experience. While there is nothing spectacular about the cooperation UNESCO established, it will contribute in the long term to developing a high-quality communication sector and the participation of citizens in managing public affairs.

Beginning in 2002, UNESCO helped found the Felix Monteiro Press Centre, an information facility for journalists within the Ildo Lobo Culture Palace providing periodicals, newspapers and books as well as on-line media. Through its International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), it then contributed to revising certain press laws and developing a new Social Communication code. Several decrees, recommendations and resolutions have already been published. They concern notably the creation of private media, the regulation of journalists’ press cards (a press card commission started up in July 2006), the rules governing access and activity for television operators, the register of companies and social communication media, and most recently, the rules for the public competition for private television broadcasting.

Other projects

UNESCO also participated in the Fórum sobre Comunicação Social, a social communication symposium held in Praia on 8 and 9 December, which brought together media professionals, representatives of civil society and officials in charge of public policy. On this occasion, Sara Lopes, the Prime Minister's Adjunct responsible for Qualification and Employment, mentioned other changes, announcing notably that the Cape Verdean government intended to concentrate on modernizing the Agência Cabo-verdiana de Notícias (Inforpress). The national press agency, currently suffering from serious underinvestment, has an important role to fulfill serving a population scattered among the different islands and a major diaspora.

At the DGCS, headed by Eugenio Martins, other projects are under way that may also involve UNESCO. They concern aspects such as training, providing equipment for young people to conduct reporting in the different islands, and creating digital archives of the country’s television and radio.

The outlook for media in Cape Verde looks even brighter thanks to these measures. In 2006, the country was ranked 47th out of 167 countries on the list assessing press freedom published by the NGO Reporters Without Borders.
Related themes/countries

      · Freedom of the Press
      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2007
      · Public Service Broadcasting: News Archives 2007
      · News Archives: 2007
      · Cape Verde: News Archives
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