PRESS RELEASE: 9 September 2001




Grahamstown: A Southern Africa Media Trainers Network (SAMTRAN) that aims “to help build free, fair, and vibrant media as well as a strong regional identity” through high quality training has been launched on the eve of the Highway Africa conference at Rhodes University.


The launch of SAMTRAN follows a workshop hosted by the Rhodes department of Journalism and Media Studies and which drew 50 media trainers from eight Southern African countries. The participants represented universities, technikons, NGOs, in-service training institutions, commercial and independent media trainers who share an interest in improved media training in the region.


According to research on media training needs in Southern Africa commissioned by the Maputo- based NSJ regional journalism training institution, over half of all media practitioners in the region do not have formal media training.


The advent of democratic governments in many Southern African countries since 1990 has led to a mushrooming of media houses-often without the requisite skills and training. Many of these pioneering media efforts have been short lived.


While there has been a rapid increase in the number of institutions and type of media training available in the region catering both for entry level and working media practitioners, the research finds that most institutions are “offering a bit of everything without performing their core functions as well as they could.”


The research identifies collaboration between media trainers as an important means of improving the quality of media training. 


The Network will be open to all media training institutions and independent media trainers in the region and will be housed initially by the NSJ. Among activities that it will engage in are:

q       Developing and sustaining an inclusive regional network of trainers with agreed values.

q       Creating and maintaining a database of media trainers and training institutes and courses on offer in the region.

q       Encouraging and facilitating the production and distribution of regional study materials for media.

q       Identifying partnerships for innovative regional pilot projects.

q       Developing collaborative initiatives on curricula and training methodologies.

q       Developing and coordinating relevant continuous learning for trainers.

q       Facilitating the sharing and publication of best practices.

q       Generating and monitoring standards for media training in the region.


For further information: contact Sam Phiri, NSJ. Email:, Tel. - 258 1 493 400; or see: