After nursing its wounds inflicted by the tyrannical regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian media - aided by the Jasmine Revolution - has begun to count the costs of the oppression, pull itself together and plan for the future. As the road to freedom is still littered with 'technical' obstacles, many observers wonder: where to from here?
The fundamental reason that many African governments ban and harass the media has more to do with personal connotations than other issues, Kenya's Henry Maina, director of Article 19 Eastern Africa, told delegates at the two-day Regulations and Rights media conference last week in Johannesburg.
There is some substantiated regulation of what the media can do and what it cannot do, but the balance must be struck between what the law has prescribed and freedom of expression, Prof Dario Milo, Wits University media law visiting professor and Webber & Wentzel partner, said last week in Johannesburg at the two-day Regulations and Rights media conference.
As governments across the African continent come under increasing pressure from critical media, 'vulture' ruling parties believe the only way to deal with this 'surrogate opposition' is to regulate it through statutory mechanisms that will eventually dent its wayward reporting. But some African voices of reason, such as Zambia's Fred M'membe, argue that the restriction of good media never produces good media.
Due to the lack of a strong and united political opposition, the media in Africa, at least those that are critical of government policies, becomes a powerful force called a surrogate opposition, Prof Tawana Kupe, dean of faculty of humanities at Wits University, said this week in Johannesburg.
Until 1992, journalists and editors in Ghana, and the independent media in general, have suffered a lot at the hands of undemocratic regimes, which cracked down on critical reporting and imposed strict restrictions limiting media freedom. As a new, liberal constitution was being written in 1992, media activists came out guns blazing, demanding that media suffering end and reporting become free. [view twitterfall]
As the independent media in Africa is engaged in a fierce battle against repressive and not-so-democratic governments keen to sweep their corrupt wrongdoings under the carpet, the issue of self-regulation has become almost like a daily bread in many parts of the continent. [view twitterfall]
The Dag Hammarskjöld Scholarship Fund for Journalists is now accepting applications from professional journalists from developing countries for its 2011 Fellowship Program. The application deadline is 6 April 2011.
The right of access to information is being hampered in many parts of the world, especially in Africa, by government officials wary of journalists' desire to 'embarrass' them, and the state's 'insincere' reason of hiding behind the issue of national security. This emerged today, Wednesday, 9 March 2011, at the Regulations and Rights media conference at Wits University in Johannesburg. [view twitterfall]
An essential part of former dictator Hosni Mubarak's strategy was controlling the media. However, over the last decade, access to television stations such as Al-Jazeera and to a lesser extent Al Arabiya, not to mention increasing Internet in Egypt, has meant losing his grip on the media. Now there's a chance for free and independent media to take root.
DUBAI, UAE: The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) opened its annual Middle East Conference this week by calling on authorities to protect journalists covering the ongoing demonstrations in the region and to allow the press to fulfil its role in providing free and credible news.
WASHINGTON DC, US: The International Women's Media Foundation strongly condemns the violence against international media covering the historic events unfolding in Egypt.
DUBAI, UAE: The Dubai International Advertising Festival in 2011 will take place over two and a half days, 27- 29 March and the Dubai Lynx Awards, honouring North Africa and the Middle East's best work in advertising and creative communications, will be held on 30 March. Both events will take place for the first time at the Arabian coast resort, the Madinat Jumeirah, in Dubai.
LONDON, UK: Media Tenor and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) recently announced the results of Peace & the Media, the first study into the accuracy of international TV news programmes with regards to violence, conflict and peace issues. The study reveals that while a majority of broadcasters present an accurate view of violence levels*, key UK and US broadcasters devote more than 50% of their time to topics of violence.
ATLANTA, US: CNN has announced the launch of a new initiative for journalism students, called CNN iReport University, linked to iReport, the network's user-generated news community.
An attempt by an Egyptian judge to ban 51 websites to which he takes exception suffered a setback recently when a court ruled against him.
A critical mass of countries are signing on to a plan for India to invest $1 billion in the Pan-African e-Network satellite project, a joint initiative with the Africa Union aimed at developing the region's information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.
“This is a great opportunity to promote responsive journalism and democracy in Kenya,” says Munene Kilongi. He is standing in a street in Nairobi while he is sending his report on the elections in Kenya from his mobile phone.