Week 5: Digital Media and Emerging Technologies- New Growth and Opportunity

Francesco Vergari  110622440

On the subject of media production and consumption in Africa it is interesting to consider the growth in number and sophistication of news outlets in African countries. Current global media news outlets are dominated by western news outlets such as BBC and CNN as well as other such as Al Jazeera. Local African news outlets cater largely to local needs and issues as can be reflected in the plethora of Indigenous language media available in many African countries. The neglect by global markets to invest in developing African media has proved an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop media that caters to their needs.

As observed in Linking Africa, the introduction and expansion of mobile technology in Africa is indicative of development and growth Mobile money reflective of global effort to tap into the large poor economy as mobile money providers cater to Africans who subsist on smaller sums of money to survive. It is interesting to see the effect Globalization has upon African countries as it influences consumption and development but it also provides Africans with agency and to apply new technologies and information to address local issues. The opportunities provided by the availability of mobile technology and internet appears to far outstrip what was hoped for by the number of failed development programs in Africa.

The expansion of mobile devices is also an opportunity for Africans to engage with social media as it is an outlet with which to receive and engage with media, issues and opinions. The activity of Boko Haram on Twitter however demonstrates the opportunity for abuse of social media as it provides opportunity for al to engage to speak. Might the use of twitter by Boko Haram represent, however, an excuse for which government can censor or restrict access to social media? The concern of Authoritarian governments over local media is apparent after the role social media and access to information played in popular uprisings of the Arab Spring. As African media struggles to develop a credible and independent reputations individuals and organization must struggle to resist corruption and influence of those that would use them to further their personal aims.

Discussion Question: As Ogundiumu discusses, there is a lack of an African version of CNN or Al Jazeera to provide a voice and perspective of Africa and suggests there is a need for one. Given the cultural and geographic diversity of Africa would an African version of CNN or Aljazeera be beneficial for all Africans or would it be detrimental in articulating a narrow set of news and viewpoints. On that note there is a lack of Latin American or East Asian or Indian CNN, should the case be made for those as well?


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