A community newspaper titled, “Harare News,” has been at the forefront of providing community-based news reporting in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. The free, monthly community newspaper and online media hub cover places, people and events that are important to the citizens of Harare.
Informed citizens are crucial, but information is worthless if it is biased, unchecked or censored. Stimulating high-quality journalism and independent news reporting by media organisations is, therefore, a key focal area of Hivos’ media policy and one of the reasons why Hivos Southern Africa supports Harare News.
With a print run of approximately 10,000 copies, the publication has filled a serious gap in news reporting in the city.
Before Harare News, there was no consistent community-focused voice in the media landscape. Existing publications were focused on top-level political mudslinging, with bread and butter issues taking second place.
The goal of the publication is to stimulate citizens to engage on issues that affect them by bringing to light stories from the communities of Harare.
To ensure that the newspapers delivers content to as many people as possible, it is now being published across online and offline platforms.
“We believe that communication lies at the heart of community. Harare News seeks to create a space where communication happens. Through quality journalism and busy forums, we afford Harare residents insight into the happenings in their suburbs and on their streets as a first step towards addressing the numerous issues they face in their daily lives,” reads the newspaper’s mission statement.
By covering issues overlooked by the mainstream media, Harare News has started fostering a sense of citizenship into all its readers. In doing so, the overall goal is that the publication can conquer apathy and hopelessness and germinate action.
Since 2014, Hivos Southern Africa has been supporting Harare News under the Human Rights Fund project, which is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands.
The goal of the fund is to improve the protection and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe in a sustainable way through support to civil society organisations.
Hivos believes that diverse, high-quality and independent media are crucial for the development of a democratic society. Hivos therefore fosters a diverse and thriving media landscape by consolidating alternative media, improving the quality and independence of news reporting and ensuring that the media do not only hold others to account, but themselves as well.