Home 9 MISA Malawi media awards 9 Community media house of the year: Regulations

Community media house of the year: Regulations

Please note: MISA Malawi is currently only presenting the Community Media House of the Year Award in the Radio category. It is planned in subsequent years to expand the award to include the categories of print and TV, hence the guidelines including all types of community media.

1. Introduction

MISA Malawi’s Community Media House of the Year Award promotes participatory and creative community programming for sustainable community media in Malawi. This is the only national award given to outstanding community media outlets in the country.

The award recognises the outstanding work of community radio, television and print media. It is sponsored by MISA Malawi or any organisation interested in promoting excellence in the community media sector in the country.

The award embraces ideals of participatory democratic programming and professionalism (accuracy, balance, impartiality, independence, public accountability and initiative) as well as artistry, clarity of style and high quality of presentation.

MISA Malawi’s Community Media House of the Year is divided into two categories: print and electronic.

The following rules and regulations GOVERN the award:

2. Competition rules

  1. The competition is open to MISA Malawi paid-up community media, both print and electronic, legally registered and operating in Malawi.
  2. Entry into the competition entails submitting written nominations whose guidelines are given.
  3. Written nominations can be done by community media houses themselves justifying why they deserve the award, or by media organisations/bodies, non-media institutions and individuals except those ruled out in Regulation 4.
  4. Members of MISA Malawi Awards Committee, competition judges, MISA Malawi National Governing Council members and Secretariat staff are not eligible to make nominations.
  5. Nominations must contain achievements and highlights of the nominated community media house attained during the twelve month period before the date of submission.
  6. Where a community media house has nominated itself and other stakeholders have also nominated it, the judges will use the information from the self-nomination document; however, the media house will get a maximum 5 marks bonus for being nominated by others.
  7. Where the community media house has been nominated by others, the judges will choose the nomination document which in their opinion is the best and the community media house will get a maximum 5 marks bonus for being nominated by more than one institution or individual.
  8. Nomination documents should, among other information, include a 750-1000 words essay as well as supporting documentation from community members served by the nominated community media house. This could be a written submission or a recording of a focus group discussion on the impact of the nominated media house.

The following sub-topics should be included in the nomination:

2.1. Community participation and citizen engagement

  • What mechanisms does the nominated community media house have in place to ensure community participation in its programming?
  • Does the nominated community outlet have policies that seek to promote community participation?
  • What programs/content demonstrate the outlet’s views/policies on citizen and community participation?
  • How does the nominated community media house maximise audience or community engagement?

2.2. Ownership and governance

  • Who owns the nominated community outlet?
  • Does the nominated community outlet have a constitution? If yes, provide a copy.
  • What is the structure of the nominated community outlet?
  • Does the community media outlet have local structures? If yes, explain the structures and their relationship with the outlet.
  • What is the composition of the nominated outlet’s board? Who elects the board?
  • What is the tenure of the nominated outlet’s board members? How often does the board meet? Provide minutes of one of the meetings for the past year.
  • How often does the nominated outlet conduct an annual general meeting?
  • Who attends meetings?

2.3 Accuracy

  • What mechanisms does the nominated outlet have in place to ensure accuracy and fairness?
  • How does nominated outlet acknowledge errors?
  • How does the nominated outlet balance the right to privacy and the right to know?

2.4 Originality, courage, independence

  • How does the outlet foster creativity and risk-taking?
  • How has the outlet demonstrated courage and independence in the past year?
  • Does the nominated outlet regularly commit extra resources over a long period of time to the pursuit of a story? Give examples of such stories
  • Did the nominated outlet break away from the pack to explore important territory that others had missed, perhaps using non-traditional methods? Cite examples

2.5 Diversity

  • What special effort has the nominated media house made to ensure that a diversity of voices, faces and ideas in its coverage accurately reflect Malawian life. Cite examples of programmes, features or supplements to support your argument.

2.6 Professional development and opportunities

  • What special measures has the nominated outlet taken to make its workplace a challenging, exciting and rewarding place for volunteers and staff in order to inspire excellence in journalism? Cite three examples.

2.7 Gender

  • What are some of the measures put in place to ensure equal opportunities for men, women and youth?
  • Does the nominated outlet have gender-sensitive policies? If yes, submit a copy of the policy to support your assertion.
  • Has the nominated media house mainstreamed gender in institutional policies and practices?

2.8 Innovations

  • What are some of the latest innovations the nominated outlet has made in the last twelve months? Cite three examples of such innovations and their noticeable impact.

The conclusion should summarise the compelling reasons why the nominated community media house deserves the award.

3. Judging procedure

  • In selecting the Community Media House of the Year, each judge will have a score sheet and the nominated media house with the top average mark will be declared the winner.
  • Nominations should be made in accordance with these rules and regulations; and should be received between April 15 and 30 every year.
  • No extensions will be made after the closing date.
  • Late or lost entries, illegible or fraudulent entries or acts or any other entries or acts which bring or would be likely to bring the reputation of MISA Malawi into disrepute shall be disqualified.
  • The competition will be judged by a panel of distinguished, independent judges with appropriate knowledge and experience of journalistic practices in Malawi.
  • The judging panel will each year have at least three members and a maximum of five members.
  • Members of the panel of judges must not come from media outlets that enter the competition or are eligible to enter the competition.
  • Should the quality of nominations fall below the standards required, the judges reserve the right not to select a winner.
  • Should a situation arise where no single written nomination has been received, no media house will be declared winner.
  • In the event of a tie, the number of winners from each of the participating media houses will be taken into consideration
  • The judges uphold the integrity and reputation of MISA Malawi awards and, as such, reserve the right to disqualify any media house if, in the judges’ opinion, there exists reasonable doubt about the authenticity and/or accuracy of the submitted information.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • MISA Malawi NGC members and Secretariat employees have no mandate to review or reverse the judges’ decision.
  • Sponsors of the award may be subject to change. However there is absolutely no connection between any sponsor and the judging process. The winners remain confidential from everyone, including sponsors, until the Gala Awards ceremony.
  • MISA Malawi and all sponsors of the Competition have the right to use names of nominated outlets and information submitted, without compensation, in any media for the purposes of promotions, advertising, public relations, media training in journalism workshops and publicising all matters related to the competition.
  • MISA Malawi and all sponsors of the Competition disclaim any liability for loss to any institution/ person or property relating to the delivery and/or subsequent use of, or participation in, any of the prizes awarded.

Written nominations should be couriered or hand-delivered to MISA Malawi Secretariat before the closing date.

MISA Malawi Secretariat
Mtolankhani House,
Acacia, Lilaga Community
Off Lilongwe-Kasiya Road
P.O. Box 30463
Lilongwe 3

4. Judges’ score sheet

Each entry receives a score out of a hundred maximum points. This made up of the following score for each category:

  • Introduction (5)
  • Ownership and governance (15)
  • Community participation (25)
  • Accuracy (5)
  • Originality, courage, independence (10)
  • Diversity (5)
  • Professional development (5)
  • Gender (5)
  • Innovations (5)
  • Citizens and local stakeholder’s views (These could be listening clubs and other local level structures providing evidence in support of the nomination). (10)
  • Multiple nominations (5)
  • Conclusion (5)

This page was last updated on 06 March 2020.