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COMM323: Comparative Media Systems

Unit 8: African Media Systems   This unit focuses on media infrastructures of various African nations within the context of developmental theory, which puts great emphasis on partnership and adoption of new technologies.  This unit will also introduce a competing theory, neo-colonialism, from critical approach to point out potential negative impact on African countries from receiving foreign aid.  All of the African nations discussed in this unit are former colonies of Western nations.  This course will introduce neo-colonialism to illustrate how these countries construct national identities under colonial influence and how the establishment of modern media is important.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 18 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 8.1.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.1.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.1.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2 : 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.3: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 8.3.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4: 3 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Discuss developmental theory and neo-colonialism. - Identify and examine the influences of Western nations in the content, perspective, and distribution of African media.

8.1 Overview of African Media   8.1.1 African Coverage of HIV/AIDS   - Reading: African Studies Quarterly: Sean Jacobs and Krista Johnson’s “Media, Social Movement and the State: Competing Images of HIV/AIDS in South Africa” Link: African Studies Quarterly: Sean Jacobs and Krista Johnson’s “Media, Social Movement and the State: Competing Images of HIV/AIDS in South Africa” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the article. 
Our discussion of African media begins with the topic of HIV/AIDS
and how it has been highly politicized in African mainstream media. 
This article cites several influential factors that have shaped
media coverage of HIV/AIDS, including social movements and
nation-states, which partly resonate with the Hallin & Mancini model
of comparative media systems.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.2 Economic Development Theory   - Reading: Jeramy Townsley’s “Economic Development Theory, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Intervention Strategies for the Most Impoverished” Link: Jeramy Townsley’s “Economic Development Theory, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Intervention Strategies for the Most Impoverished” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this
article.  African countries have been historically under economic
aid from Western countries or institutions; such aid and
intervention has influenced to some degree how African countries
approach the reduction of poverty.  This article documents four
distinctive eras of development theory at the United Nations: from
“national state capitalism” to “sustainable development.”  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.3 The Reality of African Media   - Reading: Free African Media: Theresa Mallinson’s “Africa’s media freedom map: a depressing picture” Link: Free African Media: Theresa Mallinson’s “Africa’s media freedom map: a depressing picture” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this
article.  This article breaks down trends in media freedom across
Africa.  While you read, think about the Hallin & Mancini
comparative media system model and development theory in the context
of African countries.  What are the influential factors, such as
foreign aid and local economic development, that you consider most
important in contributing to African media freedom?  Or, if several
are important, how do they relate with one another?  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.1.4 The New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO)   - Reading: Journalism, Mass Communication & Contemporary Issues: Subhash Dhuliya’s “International Communication-NWICO” Link: Journalism, Mass Communication & Contemporary Issues: Subhash Dhuliya’s “International Communication-NWICO” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link and read this article, which
gives a thorough overview of the New World Information and
Communication Oder (NWICO) and the context of debates surrounding
the order.  The NWICO was developed during an initiative to overcome
some of the challenges that surround African media development. Did
it function in the way that it was originally intended?  While you
read, think about questions like these.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2 Neo-Colonialism   8.2.1 Definition and Ideological Concerns   - Reading: Marxism in Africa: Kwame Nkrumah’s “Neo-Colonialism, the Last State of Imperialism” Link: Marxism in Africa: Kwame Nkrumah’s “Neo-Colonialism, the Last State of Imperialism” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link and read this article, which
presents a competing critical theory about economic development in
African countries.  It might be useful to see how this alternative
argument has been constructed when approaching foreign aid from
institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
particularly when it comes to the potential negative influences on
domestic affairs in African countries.  Understanding these
alternate arguments about neo-colonialism might be helpful when
developing an overall picture of media development in African
countries.  

 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.2 Growth of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)   - Reading: Ian Richardson’s “This is the BBC - Loud and Clear in French” Link: Ian Richardson’s “This is the BBC - Loud and Clear in French” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link and read this article, which
provides a quick overview of the expansion of BBC coverage in
Africa.  What kind of influence have BBC services had on its
audience in Africa? How does this relate to the earlier discussion
of neo-colonialism?  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.3 Media Infrastructure in Africa   8.3.1 An Overview of Media Infrastructure   - Reading: BBC News: Claude Sassoulas’ “Africa: the infrastructure that actually drives growth” Link: BBC News: Claude Sassoulas’ “Africa: the infrastructure that actually drives growth” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read this
article.  Pay attention to the current state of media infrastructure
development and relate that to the previous articles on freedom of
expression in African countries.  Consider the coexistence of these
very different phenomena: can you explain how things came to be this
way?  Why do you think these two seemingly contradictory
developments can coexist in African countries?  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.3.2 Egypt   - Reading: Management Systems International: “Egyptian Media Development Program Helping to Transform Media at Critical Moment” Link: Management Systems International: “Egyptian Media Development Program Helping to Transform Media at Critical Moment” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link and read this article, which
points out another aspect of the Egyptian Media Development Program:
its emphasis on training journalists.  Recall the Hallin & Mancini
comparative media model and its discussion of journalistic
professionalism.  How might the Egyptian case be different from
European countries such as Italy?  At the beginning of this unit, we
mentioned the pros and cons of foreign aid in developing African
infrastructures, including media infrastructure.  Does foreign aid
contribute to the effectiveness of training programs like this?  

 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.3.3 Ethiopia   - Reading: Communication for Social Change Consortium: Lourdes Margarita Caballero’s “Ethiopia’s Civil Society and the Current Media Environment” Link: Communication for Social Change Consortium: Lourdes Margarita Caballero’s “Ethiopia’s Civil Society and the Current Media Environment” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link and read this report, which
gives an overview of media development in Ethiopia.  This contrasts
with the Egyptian case, where there is limited foreign aid to
support the development of media infrastructures.  What are some of
the problems that are brought up by this article?  Do you agree with
the article’s claim that “the case of Ethiopia is proof that in
spite of the political repression, media will continue to play a
significant role in democratization”?  

 Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: African Journalism Studies: Terje S. Skjerdal’s “Development journalism revived: the case of Ethiopia” Link: African Journalism Studies: Terje S. Skjerdal’s “Development journalism revived: the case of Ethiopia” (HTML or PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link and read this report on the development of journalism in Ethiopia.  Since Ethiopia receives limited foreign aid to support professional development for journalists, this report highlights the differences between the cases of Ethiopia and Egypt.  What kind of differences or similarities are there regarding the development of professional journalism in the two countries?  For instance, Ethiopia emphasizes citizen journalism and emancipation.  How does this differ from the Media Development Program in Egypt?

    Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.4 Unit 8 Discussion   Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM323 Course Discussion Board”
 
Instructions: After reviewing the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board.  Feel free to start your own thread or respond to other students’ postings.

  • Describe your understanding of the development theory and how it may be relevant to African media systems.
  • Think about the Hallin & Mancini comparative media model and development theory in the context of African countries.  How do nation-states, foreign aid, and local economic development contribute to media freedom in Africa?

Posting and responding on the discussion board should take approximately 3 hours.