At an event marking the 15-year anniversary of the Media Monitoring Project (MMP) on 27 November 2008, MMP director William Bird announced that the organisation has been renamed Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).
“We felt ‘Project’ was a little too temporary and while it would have been lovely to have achieved our vision and worked ourselves out of a job in just three years, our first few years of existence showed us just how many opportunities there were for change not just in South Africa but our great continent as well”, wrote Bird in his blog on the newly launched MMA website.
A press statement issued by the MMA explained, “The name change represents a realignment of corporate identity to be more in-line with the MMA’s work.” Speaking at the celebratory launch, Bird said the fact that the new name and logo locate the MMA as an African project which is significant as it reinforces that Africa produces innovation and critical knowledge.
Many of the MMA’s supporters attended the event. Regional programme manager for Save the Children Sweden, Vlrika Soneson, congratulated the MMA for working to protect children’s rights to privacy and dignity as they are often violated by the media. Save the Children Sweden has been funding MMA’s children programme from 1992 to ensure the media does not subject children to secondary trauma or contravene human rights standards. “The model you have developed is very unique and ethical”, Soneson said.
Executive director for the Open Society Foundation of South Africa (OSF-SA), Zohra Dawood, whose organisation also provides support to MMA, said that it is strong organisations like MMA that keep them in business. “We need steady organisations”, Dawood Said.
Bird says the new interactive website aims to encouraging greater civil society engagement with the media. He points out that: “Our website reflects what we do.”
The new look website has retained the research reports section and media articles analysis sections, but also included new interactive features such as online subscription to news and resources, a poll to allow its users to have their say on issues relating to MMA’s work and, a new blog on media issues and human rights by the director, William Bird.
Users can also listen to MMA’s podcasts, participate in campaigns and have access to guides and tools for civil society in engaging with and attempting to improve media coverage.
Writing in his blog, Bird says that the organisation prides itself for having monitored and tracked changes in the media coverage of gender based violence on a local, regional and global scale. Working as the data analyst of the Global Media Monitoring Project, the MMP has even developed its own software to assist in monitoring gender in the media.
The work of the MMA has been described by its former researcher, Nonceba Mtwana, as “exciting, educational, eye opening”. Mtwana says that the work she did at MMA helped her to view media content and human rights critically.
Congratulations to the MMA on its rebranding and launch of the website.
To explore the new look MMA website, click here.
- Butjwana Seokoma is the information coordinator at SANGONeT.