Press Freedom in Africa

Press Freedom in Africa

Press Freedom in Africa

Press Freedom in Africa

Synopsis

This up-to-date study of the role of mass media in Third World development catalogs all pertinent data on press development, performance, and goals in English-speaking, sub-Saharan Africa, focusing primarily on Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. Faringer details obstacles to a genuinely free, mass circulation press and analyzes the African press using broad historical, economic, and political perspectives. Her findings challenge the prevalent belief that the primary task of Third World media is to function as a tool for economic development.

Excerpt

Mass media often play a crucial role in political change and national development. In the Western industrialized countries, during the rapid economic growth of the Industrial Revolution, the press emerged simultaneously with the rise of the middle class, and accompanied the bourgeoisie's quest for civil rights, such as freedom of speech and of the press.

The history of the mass media in the Third World is substantially different. The developing countries have not experienced mass media development in the context of booming economic growth or the rise of a powerful new class. The primary political and social concerns of the Third World since World War II have been political independence and consolidation of national economic and political structures. In addition, there are many obstacles to the development of comprehensive, indigenous media structures, such as insufficient financial resources, illiteracy, plurality of languages, and continuing dependency on former colonial powers.

Africa is a newly independent continent, relatively speaking, with a variety of political systems. The emphasis on developing mass media on the continent is crucial; Africa still has the highest illiteracy rate in the world and the lowest media exposure among broad segments of the population.

During colonialism, which lasted roughly from the end of the nineteenth century until the 1960s, most of the existing press consisted of either European-owned city newspapers or rural papers run by missionaries, often in vernacular languages. Nonetheless, during the . . .

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