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[ecrea] CFP: Media Ownership in Africa: Power, Games & Transition

Sun Jul 16 22:59:51 GMT 2017

Conference organised by the Africa Media Centre

Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster and the Ghana Institute of Journalism, with support from Routledge

Media ownership in Africa is evolving shaped by complex global and technological pressures. Global, national and local players own print and electronic media but there are differences across the continent that are hardly studied. The term media here is used in the converged sense to include both ‘old’ and ‘new’ platforms, covering mobile phones, games and emerging spaces on the internet as well as on demand applications and illegal sites/hacks. Ruling elites tend to monopolize and use the media to sustain their power but this is increasingly challenged by groups and individuals outside power, seeking opportunities to publicize, mobilize against injustices or to just use media in an everyday practice that might upset/cloud the power structure. The popular protests in Burundi, Egypt, Ivory coasts, Kenya, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Tunisia, and other African countries, indicated that media ownership is directly linked to silence on key public issues. Thus, the role of global new media players in Africa invites a rethinking of the relationship of media and power taking into consideration the modern global trends/froces. In Nigeria, the 2015 defeat of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan by General Muhammadu Buhari put bold questions on the role played by media ownership in transitions. In South Africa, the protests on the legacy of apartheid, against Cecil Rhodes’s statute and broadly against maladministration has been enhanced by hashtags such as #RhodesMustFall. Joined by Zimbabwe’s call for the exhumation and repatriation of Rhodes’ body to the United Kingdom, the protests transcended borders and official media silences. In Morocco, the domination of all form of media platforms is constantly challenged by the new media technologies and publicized hacks forcing the government into a faster democratic transition. The question about who owns the media in Africa, who has control or has access to the media, has implications for freedom, diversity and pluralism in heterogeneous societies and shapes the continent’s global presence and power relations.

The key questions on media ownership in Africa might include but are not limited to:

·      How similar and different are media ownership policies in Africa?

·      How have policy frameworks shaped media markets/media performance?

· What are the main shifts in media ownership and with what implications? For example, what is the relationship between media ownership and democratisation in Africa?

· To what extent have ruling classes used media ownership to maintain their power?

· To what extent have marginalized groups subverted media ownership to challenge existing power?

· How is the individual use of new media challenging to media ownership in African countries (you can focus on one country or compare relevant countries)

· To what extent have state, market and civil society owned media influenced democratisation? Does government owned/controlled media serve democracy better than the media owned by other groups in society?

· Is there any kind of positive support to democracy eminent or overlooked that originates from media owned by the church, business and local communities, groups and supporters of the democratic project?

· Are there any other forms of communication or media content that have the potential to lead toward a socialist, humanitarian, or democratic rule in any of the African countries? Who owns it?

· How transparent are media ownership rules and regulations and what are the apparent policies adopted by some of the African states?

· What are the linkages between media owners and direct/indirect forms of censorship?

· To what extent is media ownership influenced by advertising and other economic factors?

· What rules prevent cross media ownership and concentration? To what extent, do they also cover online media outlets?

· What are the identified cases of problematic media concentration in Africa?

· How have new digital realms created new forms of ownership that contribute to democratization in Africa?

· Are there any common trends/patterns between African countries from the north to the south regarding media ownership and the process of democratisation or its absence?

Selected papers are published both in paper and in digital copy on the EUI Repository webpage.

Abstracts must be submitted by 28th August 2017 to Dr. Loubna El Mkaouar (elmkaolo /at/ <http://mailto:(elmkaolo /at/>

Editors: Winston Mano & Loubna El Mkaouar

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