Week 5: Emerging Technologies

This weeks readings and podcast were on the development of media in Africa, particularly the effect of media on development in Africa. On the podcast Mass Media and Democracy, Folu Ogundimu talks about media in Africa and its role as a democratic tool. He speaks to the idea that there is a freedom in media, but also that there is a political control often in these forms of media. This is seen around the world and is expected in mass media especially, as media is developing the ideas it portrays will sway towards more specific agendas. Also discussed is the importance of national/local media and international media. Is international media necessary in developing countries media? Is development of local/national media more important to create social and political development within a country?

As Paul Tiyambe Zeleza writes in The Media in social development in contemporary Africa, media is expanding development and development is expanding the media. He explains that media has a great effect on society (politically, socially, and economically), while society effects the media. There is the question as to what controls what, Does the media shape and control the whole of society, and does all of society control the media, even the ‘worst’ off? The theory as a country develops so does the media brings up the point as to how far the development goes. As development reaches the ‘worst’ off in a country does the media do the same. Through the reading it seems that media follows more of a development to help economies and gain profitability, rather then the  people whose voices should be heard. The media will be shaped towards the ideas in the podcast and readings, democratization and development. Freedom of speech will be accessible to those who can easily access the media, the people that can only consume mass media will then be shaped by it. Those who cannot access the mass media easily will be then left behind, it will be more difficult for them to be part of a society that is shaped by this media. They will continue being the ‘worst’ off in society because the society they know is evolving and they aren’t because they cannot access the media. The media is almost always owned by the elite and will therefore create society that benefits themselves.

The most interesting part of this article was the huge popularity of the radio and radio stations in Africa. The discussion on the use of radio to bring back the culture and traditions of oral stories. Meanwhile in the video shown about Accra Street the radio could be heard playing Reggae music. The radio not only globalizes, it also localizes, maintaining African culture as well as expanding it. The idea that the medium is the message could suggest that that the radio’s message is hybrid culture. Could the hybridity of culture also be present in television and other new forms of media?

The last article by Chiluwa and Adegoke looks at the use of twitter in the midst of conflict, between Boko Haram and the western, as well as the people and Nigeria. Twitter creates citizen journalism and is a way for the people to be heard, they can also comment on news stories using social media to refine or correct mass media. Again the question becomes as to who has the access to really use twitter to their advantage. The voices of many cannot be heard because their circumstance to make and publish their own 140 character news story is not present.

Thomas Knoops – 100693640


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