Week 5

Mary Crawford – 110209140

The podcast assigned for the week introduced the transformation of mass media in Africa and how it has empowered the population to speak out and demand change. Mass Media and Democracy was hosted by Folu Ogundimu on Africa Past and Present to discuss social media creating a platform for the public to express themselves and voice their opinions. This ties in with the article by Chiluwa about Nigeria and its role on the social media network, Twitter. This has backfired as many terrorist groups and extremists have begun using this opportunity to spread hate and recruit others to join them. For example, Boko Haram has a twitter account and regularly posts confusing but aggressive tweets to induce terror onto the public and demonstrate their power. They attach videos posted on youtube to show off their stock pile of weapons and growing numbers of “soldiers”.  This easily can get out of hand as others from around the world can chose to retweet, favourite, hashtag or tweet at them only encouraging the behaviour and extends the reach of their posts.

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Although there are negatives to the fast growing media sources in Africa, there are some positive aspects as well. Ogundimu believes it has provided the African people with a freedom that would otherwise be non-existent without this new created outlet but there is still a great need for stability in order for this to gain some political influence on an international scale. The introduction of digital media gives a voice to those who would otherwise not have one, but not all voices are positive ones.

Through globalization the world has become a much smaller place and mobile technology has made the world accessible. In the article Linking Africa, the author ties the growth of mobile money to the development of Africa and provides agency to the people. Western companies now turn to Africa for inspiration and look to invest in many of the technological projects all over the continent. With this accessibility to the internet comes the growing awareness of the international community which will than lead to the more aid and partnerships with developed nations. Creating a way in which the world can build relationships and connections with others in Africa, could create a more prosperous and stabilized economy for the countries within and improve the already existing investments. Projects such as SimbiHaiti are a good example of design and manufacturing done in one country and marketing and sales done in another works well and can create a prosperous business. SimbiHaiti creates small bracelets and head bands in which the materials are made in Haiti, providing jobs and income to the people and than sold in North America for a profit in which the partner shares with the Haitian-based company. Through websites such as Etsy, Ebay and Amazon, it is easy for mobile money and small business to grow with the large international market. This than stimulates the economy and brings money into Africa.

Discussion Question:

– Should Twitter monitor and control what is posted in order to prevent the spread of terror despite it being an infringement on freedom of speech?

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