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The “Truth” for Free

Launched in 2008, Mozambique’s biggest circulation weekly @Verdade, which reaches more than 400,000 people in that south-eastern African country, is the nation’s first high-quality, free newspaper. According to its founder, Erik Charas, “@Verdade was really created to bring out good values and positive morals as well as to raise our society to the levels we want. … The average Mozambican is so preoccupied with his survival that he has put his ambition aside. If we are in no condition to dream, then we have no ability to have ambition. And that is where @Verdade fits in; to bring back hope, to raise the level of ambition of the Mozambican and hopefully instigate change.” As few people in Mozambique have electricity, not to mention TV sets or computers, and few can afford to buy a newspaper, most had little, if any, access to mass media communication before @Verdade was created. Today the newspaper provides information at the local level, including on health and women’s issues and even on domestic violence, in order to “be informative but at the same time to have potential for behavioural change”. It also reports more widely on the news in Maputo and in the rest of Africa. @Verdade has become a very popular and successful social enterprise that serves the people of Mozambique while transforming the nation.

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