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[Commlist] CFP: Media Accountability and Corruption in Africa: Contestations and Controversies

Tue Sep 05 12:06:58 GMT 2023

*Call for paper (CFP)*


*Media Accountability and Corruption in Africa: Contestations and Controversies*


*Abstract Submission Deadline: November 14, 2023*

Book Editors:

Ufuoma Akpojivi, Policy, Research and Learning Lead, Advocates for International Development, UK, Email:(Ufuoma.Akpojivi /at/ <mailto:(Ufuoma.Akpojivi /at/>

Tendai Chari, Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Venda, South Africa, Email:(Tendai.Chari /at/ <mailto:(Tendai.Chari /at/>

At the attainment of independence, there was euphoria that African states would witness economic and political growth and development as ‘independence in Africa was supposed to usher in a period characterized by the peaceful co-existence of population groups and significant improvements in the wealth-creating capacity of each new nation’ (Mbaku 2007). However, the continent has not witnessed this economic and political liberation due to political instability and economic crises rooted in corruption (Sarassoro 1979). Studies show that corruption in its various guises is rife on the African continent. According to Transparency International in their 2015 report, corruption is on the rise and has impacted significantly on the continent's socio-economic, political and cultural development. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) claimed that the continent loses about $88.6bn or 3.7 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually on illicit financial flows. Similarly, in a corruption perception index conducted by Transparency International in 2022, 44 out of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries assessed scored below 50, with the few gains made by a few countries eroded by the significant decline in corruption by most of the other African countries. The global COVID-19 pandemic has further enabled African states to perpetuate corruption as institutional mechanisms to regulate procurement were suspended as a result of the need for a rapid response to curtail the spread of the virus, giving rise to a new form of corruption, derisively referred to as ‘tenderpreneurs’ or ‘Covidpreneurs’ (see Mutuwa and Akpojivi 2022). The impact of corruption on the continent cannot be over-emphasised. Corruption is not only harmful to human development due to the lack of basic amenities (good roads, health care and education), but also hinders the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The media are regarded as the watchdog of society and have an important role to play in reporting and representing corruption, as they are instrumental in promoting accountability and transparency in both the public and private sectors (Norris 2008). They are able to do this via the reportage of corrupt activities, as their reportage exposes maladministration and activities within the various sectors of society and the economy. However, the ability of the media to report corruption effectively is tied to freedom and availability of strong institutions that enable an open and transparent society. Weder and Brunetti (2003) posit that there is a correlation between media freedom, plurality and corruption. This means that the level and quality of freedom within society influence and determine the level of corruption in society. As Mbaku (2007) argues, the media, civil societies, and anyone could expose corruption in a free and open society.

On the other hand, the media has been accused of enabling corruption within the continent despite its important role in the fight against corruption. There have been many instances where themedia have been compromised through bribery or influence/coercion/political pressures, which is corruption at the administrative, petty and influencing levels (Bracking 2023).

 Therefore, eradicating corruption within the African continent, which is a bane (Kwei Armah 1968), is dependent not just on the establishment of strong institutions and adherence to the rule of law but on the ‘will’ whether political, social or economic will, of the media to report on corruption and be ethnically upright to spurn corruption at all levels within its establishment. Onyenankeya and Salawu (2020), drawing from the Nigerian experience, argued that the ability of the Nigerian media to carry out investigative journalism that will expose corruption has been hindered due to economic factors and the patrimonial relationship between the media and the state. Such patrimonial relationship cuts across most media organisations across the continent as there have been reported cases of media being captured alongside the state (Fazekas and Toth 2016, Madonsela 2019). Such capture reflects the deep-rooted nature of corruption and the distinct nature in which it happens and how other structures of society, like the media, enable corruption within society and within their very own institution.

Generally, corruption thrives on morality, professional ethics, and political and economic environments. Thus, the media is primarily responsible for questioning society's morality or moral concepts and ensuring that moral principles of good governance and accountability are ingrained in every fabric of society. Similarly, professional ethics regulate the activities of the state and non-state actors, and the media has the responsibility of educating and instilling these principles in society as they carry out their fundamental functions of being a watchdog against corruption, promote integrity and engage citizens in anti-corruption efforts and activities (Schauseil 2019). However, the difficulty of having a universal moral principle or the contestation as to what corruption is, based on the ethnicization of corruption and prebendal politics within the continent, is beginning to influence how media operations and their content due to weak economic and socio-moral base of the media (see Nyamnjoh 2005, Voltmer 2008). Such ethnicization of corruption is seen in how corruption is framed and reported in the media and perceived by the public. Likewise, the need for the media to act ethically despite pressure and influence and eliminate all forms of corruption within its institution and not enable corruption in the public and private sectors.

Therefore, in this edited volume, we are interested in how corruption is imagined or (re)imagined in the continent. Does such (re)imagination of corruption (en)force the dominant forms in which corruption manifests within the continent in the private and public sector, or has the rise of global citizen activism (online or offline) refined how corruption is reported? Also, we are interested in addressing the questions of who watches over the watchdog when they enable or act corruptly? And what are the broader implications of corruption within the media institution on democracy and its stability within the continent? We welcome submissions that touch on any of the following and related sub-themes indicated below:

Submissions covering, but not limited to the following areas are welcome:

i.Conceptualisation of corruption and its manifestations

ii.State and media capture in Africa

iii.Media, accountability and corruption in Africa

iv.The watchdog role of the media and corruption

v.Media and the ‘War’ against corruption in Africa

vi.Public interest journalism and accountability in Africa

vii.Media framing and reporting of corruption in Africa

viii.Media and pathologisation of corruption in Africa

ix.Media, corruption and Afro-pessimism

x.Mediation of corruption and its broader impact in society

xi.Civil society, activism and corruption in Africa

xii.Citizen journalism and corruption in Africa

xiii.Ethical universalism and corruption

xiv.Political corruption and financialization of the media

xv.Open, and just society: the place of the media in fighting corruption and building strong institutions.

xvi.Role of media freedom and diversity in enhancing corruption reportage.

xvii.Journalistic independence and corruption in Africa

xviii.Media, corruption and the whistleblower phenomenon in Africa

xix.Ethical conundrums in reporting corruption

xx.Checkbook /Brown Envelop Journalism and Corruption in Africa

xxi.Media Leaks and corruption in Africa

xxii.New media, corruption and accountability in Africa

xxiii.Role of social media in exposing corruption in Africa

xxiv.Media, censorship and corruption in Africa

xxv.Media, corruption and conflict of interest

xxvi.Investigating journalism and corruption in Africa

*Submission details*:

Please email a chapter proposal of up to 400 words and brief author's biographical information and affiliations to the editors (atufuoma.akpojivi /at/ <mailto:(ufuoma.akpojivi /at/>(andtendai.chari /at/ <mailto:(tendai.chari /at/>. Decisions on chapter proposals will be communicated to the authors by November 30, 2023. The book is earmarked for publication with Routledge. N*o payment from the authors*will be required.


November 14, 2023: Abstract submission deadline

November 30, 2023: Notification of decision

February 14, 2024: Deadline for submission of full draft

April 14, 2024: Feedback from peer reviewers

June 14, 2024: Deadline for submission of the revised chapter

July 30, 2024: Final decision on chapter submission

October 30, 2024: Submission of book manuscript to the publisher

*About the Editors*


Ufuoma Akpojiviis the Policy, Research and Learning Lead at Advocates for International Development, United Kingdom, and a Visiting Scholar at the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana. Prior to this, he was an associate professor and Head of the Media Studies Department, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and a Visiting Professor at the School of Media and Communication at Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria. He is a C2-rated researcher of the National Research Foundation (NRF) South Africa and a recipient of the University of the Witwatersrand Vice-Chancellor and Faculty of Humanities individual teaching and learning award (2017).

*Tendai Chari*is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and a National Research Foundation (NRF) C3 Rated Researcher at the University of Venda, South Africa. He holds a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Previously, he lectured at several universities in Africa, including the University of Zimbabwe, (where he was Head of the Media Programme in the English Department), the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Fort Hare University (South Africa). Chari is widely published in the field of media and communication studies and his research focuses on Political Communication with a broadened horizon on the interface between Digital Media and Politics, Media and Conflict, Media Ethics and Popular Culture.



Asomah, J. (2020). Can Private Media Contribute to Fighting Political Corruption in Sub-Sahara Africa? Lessons from Ghana./Third World Quarterly/, 41 (12).

Asomah, J. (2021). What can Be Done to Address Corruption in Ghana? Understanding Citizen’s Perspectives,/Forum for Development Studies/, 48 (3).

Bracking, S. (2023). The Challenge of Corruption, presented at the Law and Development Training Programme, Strengthening and Developing the Rule of Law (SDG16) Module, July 15, London.

Fazekas, M. & Toth, I. (2016). From Corruption to State Capture: A New Analytical Framework with Empirical Applications from Hungary./Political Research Quarterly/, 69 (2): 320-334.

Kwei-Armah, A. (1968)./The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born./Houghton Mifflin.

Maadonsela, S. (2019). Critical Reflections on State Capture in South Africa./Insight on Africa/, 11(1): 113-130.

Mbaku, J. (2007)./Corruption in Africa: Causes, Consequences and Cleanups/. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Mutuwa, W. & Akpojivi, U. (2022). Critical Journalism and Media Coverage During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Representation of Corruption in Zimbabwean Online News. In C. Dralega & A. Napakol, (eds),/Health Crises and Media Discourses in Sub-Saharan Africa/, Springer, 75-93.

Norris, P. (2008). The Role of the Free Press in Promoting Democratization, Good Governance, and Human Development. In M Harvey (ed.)/Media Matters. Perspectives on Advancing Governance & Development/. Internews Europe/Global Forum for Media Development. pp. 66-75

Nyamnjoh, F. (2005). Africa’s Media Democracy and the Politics of Belonging. London: Zed Books.

Onyenankeya, K. & Salawu, A. (2020). On Bended Knees: Investigative Journalism and Changing Media Culture in Nigeria./Media Watch/, 11 (1): 97-118.

Sarassoro, H. (1979). Corruption of Public Officials in Africa-A Comparative Study in Criminal Law. Online:

Schauseil, W. (2019).Medi and Anti-Corruption. Transparency International.

Transparency International (2015). Corruption in Africa: 75 Million People pay Bribes. Online: <>

Transparency International (2023). CPI 2022 For Sub-Saharan Africa: Corruption Compounding Multiple Crises. Online: <>

UNODC (N/D). The Role of the Media in Fighting Corruption. Online: <>

Voltmer, K. (2008). Comparing Media Systems in New Democracies: East Meets South Meets West./Central European Journal of Communication/, 1: 23-40.

Weder, B. & Brunetti, A. (2003). A Free Press Is Bad News for Corruption./Journal of Public Economics/, 87(7-8): 1801-24

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