Citizen journalism in Mozambique


From the very beginning we knew the technology would help us not only do a better printed edition but also reach people and engage them more. Adérito Caldeira, editor

@Verdade is the most widely read news source in Mozambique, a conflict prone country in southern Africa. From the beginning of its distribution, @Verdade has enjoyed strong community response, with readers contributed opinions and ideas to the newspaper on a "Mural de Povo" and social media.

The challenge

@Verdade knows that democracy cannot succeed without transparency. Without monitoring and a strong press, the electoral process in Mozambique cannot withstand fraud and corruption.

While @Verdade didn't have the resources to send reporters to every polling station in the country, they did have a strong community of engaged readers. Could they turn some of those readers into reporters?

The solution

Sourcefabric created Citizen Desk, a digital tool to help editors aggregate reports from citizen journalist. Social media would play a key role, but because of low internet penetration in Mozambique, SMS would be at the heart of Citizen Desk.

@Verdade editors can verify the reports they receive and tag them for follow-up reporting. Verified contributions can put published through a Sourcefabric Live Blog instance on the @Verdade web site.

The result

Citizen Desk won the African News Innovation Challenge. @Verdade deployed Citizen Desk 1.0 in the months leading up to local elections in 2013. With it, they gathered and published 1,100 reports in 10 days on their election Live Blog.

Sourcefabric is currently developing Citizen Desk 2.0, which @Verdade will use to cover Mozambique's general elections in October 2014.

We're extremely proud of our work with @Verdade, which demonstrates our commitment to quality, independent media.

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See for yourself

We're looking for partners who want engage citizen reporters. Write to us at to learn how you can benefit.