This week we take a closer look into the progression of ICTs and media presence in the continent of Africa. It appears media forms such as newspapers frantically increased during the early 90s when democracy was striving to initiate it’s political spread coinciding with the perpetuation of free markets. Media appears to be a pretty neutral technology but its merits and censorship are dependent on those who wield the diverse forms of communication and knowledge sharing technologies. During the pod cast we hear that nations such as Nigeria and Ghana have harnessed the power of free press and use it to represent native languages as well as political initiatives but these efforts can often be used to represent more wide-spread leadership and electoral practices and mute the localized representations in a sensational oriented manor. It is also noted that within South Africa news outlets such as local newsprints have contributed to an erosion of a radical and vital black voice present in articulative reports and critical reflections which may be a result of the emergence of heavy visual based news or the privateers who provide funding while also a narrative for the directionality of the news outlet. It appears though that democracy and media have greatly shaped one-another since the dismantling of Marxist ideologies indicated throughout the pod cast and readings as the more innovative forms of media that have been advocated and adopted in passing decades have complimented the growth of these two impacting forces . Obviously democracy and freedom of press have traditionally been grouped as going hand in hand but the biggest issues can also ensue from harnessing media power in a democracy, as stated in the pod cast “is the media then a watch dog or a lap dog of democratic preservation”? There are many issues that mass media and interpersonal media platforms pose to African nations, spanning from instances of conflict and censorship to privatization initiatives shaping and dictating the content and future of the information that is spread and assimilated into culture and civil society as well as the fate of the entrepreneurs who rely on the industries growth. A most prominent issue is that democratized free press leaves room for covert manipulation and the spread of disinformation which can compromise the entire democratic process itself and can become the anti-political reform for human rights. There is a clear lack of national and international oversight and lawful jurisdiction observing the development of these technologies and where the proprietary development lends its use to. Laws are slow to be implemented, business ventures remain gainful and boundary-less and voices of change can be compromised while ironically more communicative space is being amassed in lesser time with these advancements. While privatization of these industries allows these technologies to progress and remain competitive within a global perspective and voices of oppression and critical questioning have an opportunity to ascend, there are many vulnerabilities that accompany this progress. These vulnerabilities align with the absence of effective and stable governments who may be at the mercy of foreign investment or might be experiencing internal turmoil or there might exist great disconnects between identifiable groups as well as nationalities at large all contributing to the notion that with growth it will become increasingly difficult to appropriately lend the necessary support for these advancements and their demands.
1.Will popular media platforms mobilize social movements with an active, manageable focus or will they fall prey to the recent observable phenomenon of cyberlogical short-termed attention?
2.Is there enough competency at national levels of governance to support these communications and technologies with regards to the preservation of democracy especially pertaining to those who have immediate relationships with media heads and sponsorships?
3.Will media innovations fruitfully represent civil societies or become facets of specific agendas, will other voices become compromised at the expense of others being uplifted?