Development Journalism in African Context

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Presentation by Mr. Jonas Boateng, Lecturer in journalism, Ghana Institute of Journalism

Published in: Education, News & Politics

Development Journalism in African Context

  1. 1. Development Journalism: The African Context Lecturer Kodwo Jonas Anson Boateng Mass Communication Ghana Institute of Journalism
  2. 2. Focus of Lecture <ul><li>Try to understand the concept of Development and Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>The Historical setting of Development Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Expectations of Development Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Current Practice & impeding challenges </li></ul><ul><li>The Way Forward </li></ul>
  3. 3. Two Critical Concepts <ul><li>What and how is development conceived/perceived? </li></ul><ul><li>What is our understanding of journalism? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Development <ul><li>Development has varied definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Prominent: Development is there4 defined as “consisting of deliberate efforts aimed at progress on the part of various agencies, including gov’ts, all kinds of organizations and social movements”. (G. Thomas 1989) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Development <ul><li>The process by which Third World societies could become more like Western developed societies in terms of political system, economic growth and educational levels (Inkeles & Smith 1974). </li></ul><ul><li>Development equated to political democracy, rising levels of productivity and industrialization, high literacy rates, longer life expectancy. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Development Considered <ul><li>Also considered as </li></ul><ul><li>“ a process of enlarging people’s choices” </li></ul><ul><li>“… . enhancing participatory democratic processes” </li></ul><ul><li>“… .. the ability of the people to have a say in the decisions that shape their lives” </li></ul><ul><li>“… .. of providing human beings with the fullest potential” </li></ul><ul><li>“…… of enabling the poor, women and free independent peasants to organize for themselves…..” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Role of Journalism <ul><li>Traditionally journalism seen as: </li></ul><ul><li>Collector of information </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution & disseminator of information </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediary between a source & a receiver </li></ul><ul><li>Journalists are professional agents who collect, collate, process and disseminate a appropriate & relevant information and messages between parties and or entities in a given community. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Historical Background to Development Journalism <ul><li>Dev’t Journalism born out of idea of dev’t: </li></ul><ul><li>Devt facilities the process of modernization & westernization </li></ul><ul><li>Devt equated to liberal demoracy </li></ul><ul><li>In 1950s & 60s media regarded as essential agent in dev’t process </li></ul><ul><li>Media products in Africa mainly imported from West or from colonial masters </li></ul>
  9. 9. 5 Major Principles of Development Journalism <ul><li>Development Journalism places certain demands & expectations on the journalist: </li></ul><ul><li>Dev’t Journalists should be aware of the processes and contradictions between dev’t & underdev’t </li></ul><ul><li>Dev’t Journalism should help break dependency on colonialism </li></ul><ul><li>Dev’t Journalism must help in global struggle against imperialism & global inequalities </li></ul>
  10. 10. 5 Major Principles of Dev’t Journalism <ul><li>4. Dev’t Journalism should help new independent states achieve nation-hood </li></ul><ul><li>5. Dev’t Journalist should be a Pan-Africanist </li></ul>
  11. 11. Role of Media <ul><li>Media collaborate with gov’t for socio-economic & cultural dev’t </li></ul><ul><li>Media as tool for national modernization </li></ul><ul><li>Media used a nation-builder </li></ul><ul><li>Create national consciousness & patriotism </li></ul><ul><li>Political & Social Mobilizer for national cohesion </li></ul>
  12. 12. Criticisms <ul><li>Too much attachment to gov’t </li></ul><ul><li>Mouthpiece of gov’t - Political amplifier or loudspeaker. </li></ul><ul><li>Neglect its ‘ Watchdog ’ role, becomes political & social ‘ Gatekeeper ’. </li></ul><ul><li>Gov’t Control increases </li></ul><ul><li>Presents issues of dev’t not impact of dev’t </li></ul><ul><li>Dev’t Journalism becoming obsolete due to liberal/market oriented media </li></ul>
  13. 13. Moving Dev’t Journalism Forward <ul><li>Re-examine the idea of DEVELOPMENT </li></ul><ul><li>Re-examine idea of DEMOCRACY (Participatory/Inclusiveness) </li></ul><ul><li>Dev’t Journalism must empower the ordinary person/communities not state </li></ul><ul><li>Deve’t Journalism must report about people not about issues </li></ul><ul><li>Must promote different forms of life experiences </li></ul>
  14. 14. Moving Forward <ul><li>Media should be community owned & operated </li></ul><ul><li>Dev’t Journalism must promote REVOLUTION IN THINKING </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge traditional/dominant ideas/paradigms. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Finally ! <ul><li>In his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire argues for: </li></ul><ul><li>A shift from the dominant approach of [development journalism] to a community-based development approach that recognizes grassroots efforts and a radical/revolutionary change for the oppressed and marginalized people to take control of power politics. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Kiitos & Hyva Joulua

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