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media is possible
in Africa have been challenged to help African governments in formulating
a regulatory environment that is conducive to the establishment
of indigenous media.
a media session yesterday at the ongoing World Social Forum at Kasarani
in Nairobi, the Director of Highway Africa News Agency (HANA), Chris
Kabwato said there was urgent need to engage African governments
in media best practices. This kind of dialogue with the government
would enable indigenous African practitioners to invest in producing
culturally relevant content and counter the highly skewed Euro-centric
content that Africans are currently consuming. Mr Kabwato said that
Africa had for years been infiltrated by foreign media and this
had reduced Africans to almost pure consumers of media and not producers.
Time had come he said, for Africans to establish home-grown media
as alternatives to the foreign media which dominate broadcast and
print media in Africa. Mr Kabwato warned that some of the alternative
media in Africa relied heavily on donor funding for their operations.
This he said was dangerous because it meant that the media were
he outlined as crucial for African government’s to address in order
to create indigenous African media with culturally relevant content
were : access of media ; citizenship versus consumerism ; the north/south
relationship ; hegemony ; and diversity and pluralism. Speaking
at the same forum, the Africa director of Inter Press Service news
agency, Ms Farai Samhungu revealed that although IPS was formed
with the ideal of the South to generate home-grown news, the agency
was still donor dependent 43 years later. Ms Samhungu said although
IPS publishes in about 20 languages, the cost of translations was
it may cost us three times more to produce a French translation
of a news report from English", said Ms Samhungu emphasizing
the expenses involved in producing multi-lingual content. She however
said there is room for the co-existence of information as a commodity
as well as for the common good.
activist, Jason Nadi, spoke about the liberalization of media content
production. Mr Nadi said that the modern information communication
technologies such as the Internet, had enabled individuals to produce
their own news content culminating in a information society. In
common parlance an information society is one where information
is treated as a form of currency at different platforms and fora.
Mr Nadi said this individually produced media is an alternative
to the traditional mass media. Mr Nadi said that in Europe, media
conglomerates in individual countries have distorted media freedom
as giant companies had the financial power to control content and
the manner of distribution. He said information through mass media
is becoming less reliable because it is treated as merchandise for
consumers not audiences.
this we need communities to be able to create and exchange their
own content and use different platforms", said Nadi adding
that modern technology in the media was operating amid medieval
media governance structures. Jon Barnes from the PANOS London office
said that his organisation had identified weaknesses and challenges
within the African media and began redressing them. For example,
he said, PANOS was engaged in building African journalists capacity
to report effectively on trade issues especially at international
level where there is a dearth of African generated content.
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