Jun. 29, 2015


José Guerra

Mozambique

José Guerra

President, Council Administration of Miramar

TBY talks to José Guerra, President of the Council Administration of Miramar, on expanding TV services, social media, and the quality of the new generation of Mozambican journalists.

BIO

José Guerra is Chairman of the Board of Miramar and founder of the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus in Mozambique. Guerra was born in Marrucuene, Mozambique, in the Maputo Province. He earned his Master's and PhD degrees in Theological Sciences from the Christian University of Florida, a Master’s degree in Business Administration in South Africa, and a second Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in the Czech Republic. He has been a professor at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane for 24 years and a business manager for over 20 years.

What is Miramar's history in Mozambique?

Inaugurated in 1999, TV Miramar has been operating on the market for 16 years as part of a communications network that includes Radio Miramar. Nowadays, TV Miramar is a popular communication channel known mainly for its innovative and differentiated character. It is an open signal channel available in all provincial capitals across Mozambique, as well as in Angola through TV Cabo. Miramar can be viewed through main pay television and in Southern Africa via satellite. It is a generalist channel offering a wide range of programs, and has been successful at aggregating and satisfying the needs of a diverse audience.

What are some of the investment and development projects in progress at TV Miramar?

At the moment, our focus has been the process of migrating from an analog to a digital signal. This requires a large investment guaranteeing not only the technical aspects of the system, but also the induction of our technicians. Digitalization will ultimately change the way the world watches TV. We have learned from the experiences of neighboring countries that the “digital migration" can be a difficult and lengthy process, although we are ready to face the challenge. We want to guarantee that our channel's differentiation prevails in all aspects linked to the migration. We are also working hard to provide comprehensive news coverage to the capitals and main provinces, and eventually the entire country. Currently, apart from Maputo, news coverage is only available in some of the provinces in the north and the center of the country.

How have new social and interactive technologies shaped the way Miramar works?

Social media has considerably changed the way that people consume TV and radio content. As smartphone usage has grown, people are now watching TV and simultaneously commenting on social media about what they see. Miramar has opted to join its viewers on social media, and today we are proud to be the TV station with the highest number of Facebook followers in Mozambique. We recently launched Web TV, enabling our viewers to watch Miramar TV and have access to the latest news in Mozambique, wherever they happen to be in the world. With the link to social media, viewers can also comment on our content and “share" the channel with their friends and followers.

How has the profession of journalism been developing in Mozambique?

Over the past couple of years, we have seen growth in media diversity. Big developments have been realized at the TV networks, as I mentioned, but also elsewhere. In journalism we are concerned with the quality of the product presented to the viewer, and are working to provide information of integrity backed by research and investigation. There are still many improvements to be made in the quality of Mozambican journalism, but we are on the right path.

Do you feel confident in the new generation of journalists graduating from Mozambican universities?

Miramar has been accepting interns, and these young journalists usually have a strong theoretical background, although they are not always knowledgeable about the realities of the market. There have certainly been educational developments in the field, but there is still much progress to be made, specifically in teaching practical skills to young professionals. We have not been meeting interns who are absolutely ready to work in the field upon completing their studies, but good efforts are being made with relatively good results if one considers that journalism is a fairly recent discipline in Mozambique.

Currently, what are the main challenges journalism faces in Mozambique, and where do you see the industry in 10 years?

Every line of work faces its obstacles, the most relevant for journalists being access to information. An issue of major importance is the centralization of the media. There are improvements to be made in the expansion of coverage in the rural districts. The vast majority of the media tends to concentrate in urban areas covering central themes, and consequently the outer districts are left with little to no news coverage. Despite significant improvements over the past couple of years, there is still a long way to go.

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