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Citizen Justice Network’s sole mission is to produce and report social justice issues from under-reported areas and ensure that citizen journalism reaches rural and semi-rural communities of South Africa. In this article, we reflect on some of the great work we’ve done in 2019 and 2020.

We are pleased to have successfully added three new advice offices, one in Empangeni in KZN called Kwadlangezwa Advice Office under the stewardship of Lindokuhle Macaucau who will partner with Icora FM. We’ve also added Matlala Advice Office in Moletjie Limpopo whose Director is Olitta Letsoalo and will partner with Moletsi FM as well as Zanokuhle Advice and Resources Centre in Bergville – KwaZulu Natal, under the leadership of Msizi Miya. Zanokuhle Advice and Resources Centre will be partnered with Nqubeko FM in Ladysmith.  We sought to continue the social consciousness discussions which our paralegals have been doing on community radio stations since the inception of our project throughout the country. We hope that the new paralegals that are bringing a wealth of experience as socio-legal experts and community development agents will bring in the needed access to legal empowerment in their respective communities.

We held a successful elections project in the first half of 2019 that equipped radio journalists from various community radio stations with skills on reporting and investigating stories for radio. We encouraged them to look into the socio-political issues of their local communities during the election period in May last year, where they would be able to apply knowledge and extract social justice content. In the second half of the year, we hosted our annual National workshop where we brought all our paralegals together along with radio presenters from our partner community radio stations. The three-day event is where they shared best practices on individual story development, community engagement skills and impartation of knowledge in a creative way that resonates with CJN’s mentorship. 

Two of our participant stations Inanda FM and The Rock FM were nominated for the Liberty Radio Awards, which is testament to the positive outcome that our collaboration has for our partner Community Radio Stations. The Reafahlologa programme hosted by Ike Mosia on The Rock FM went on to win the Liberty radio award in the News & Actuality category and was also was nominated by the National Community Radio Week (NCRW) as Best Talk Show Nominee of 2019. We also had a successful pilot project in Kenya with Kituo Cha Sheria where we established partnerships with Koch FM – 99.9 FM and Pamoja FM-99.8 FM.

In 2020, we hope to continue growing our partnerships to be able to realize a groundswell of awareness around access to justice; we foresee a year of building stronger stakeholder relationships especially with womxn led community advice offices and development projects. We plan to increase our footprint in the Eastern Cape particularly Port Elizabeth and Queenstown, where the majority of the population is still reliant on the radio as a source of information. We also foresee an opportunity to expand our reach outside South Africa in order to share this innovative programme as a service to underreported areas.

Our job is to target communities where social injustices are under-reported and not addressed so that we can intensify citizen journalism, in order for the right media and legal attention to reach and assist those in need.

We are positive about 2020 and believe in all the goals that we have set out to achieve.  

Compiled by: Ntombikayise Gijana (Editorial Mentor)