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Support Citizen Desk on IndieVoice.es!

@Verdade in Mozambique
@Verdade in Mozambique

Sourcefabric is dedicated to supporting independent journalism and media around the world. So the launch of IndieVoic.es, a new crowdsourcing platform for independent media, comes as great news to us.

From November 24 to January 23, IndieVoic.es will showcase Citizen Desk 2.0, an upgrade of a platform we developed @Verdade, the most innovative and widely read news source in Mozambique.

Activating citizen journalism in Mozambique

A few years ago, @Verdade placed a blackboard on the street in front of their newsroom so the public could write down the issues that are important for them and contribute news and ideas. These contributions make their way onto @Verdade's vibrant Facebook page and into the printed newspaper, where they reach 400,000 readers.

This simple and elegant merging of offline and online reflects readers' hunger to be part of the newsmaking process — and the power they bring to a news outlet.

To better harness that power, @Verdade asked Sourcefabric to help overcome an enormous challenge to citizen journalism in Mozambique: lack of internet access outside the capital.

Beta testing at upcoming elections

Mozambique held its first free elections in 1994. Since then, however, Mozambicans have gradually lost faith in the idea of free and fair voting processes, and voter participation has decreased.

To help restore voters' faith, @Verdade wants to monitor polling stations for irregularities. But Mozambique has 2500 polling stations, and @Verdade has only 11 staff members. That's where Citizen Desk 2.0 comes in.

With funding from the African News Innovation Challenge, Sourcefabric and @Verdade developed Citizen Desk. This platform lets citizen reporters send their contributions to @Verdade via SMS and other channels. @Verdade beta tested Citizen Desk during voter registration in May 2013. A successful live test of Citizen Desk 1.0 took place during local elections in November.

With Citizen Desk, @Verdade was able to accept reports from citizen journalists. But Citizen Desk requires further development to enable easy, secure verification and management of content. Contributor registration, profile management and rewards systems need to be put in place to help motivate citizen journalists and possibly provide a new income opportunity to the most reliable ones.

In short: Citizen Desk 2.0 will let the editors verify reports, manage the new content, and reward the most reliable citizen journalists.

Help make Citizen Desk 2.0 a reality

But we urgently need your help to make that happen. Mozambique faces a crucial general election in 2014. Without Citizen Desk 2.0, @Verdade and its readers will be hampered by geography and poor internet penetration. The potential for irregularities is high and, we fear, voters will be discouraged from the polls.

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. While its economic potential is growing, the government regulates investment market liberalisation. Without full democracy, only limited parts of Mozambican society will benefit from new economic opportunities.

Please help us. Visit the Citizen Desk project on IndieVoic.es and contribute to the further development of this open source tool. Once completed, Citizen Desk 2.0 will be available free of charge for use by any user worldwide.

  • Join @Verdade and Sourcefabric in making Citizen Desk the freely accessible go-to tool for media and civil society worldwide. Support us here.