MASS MEDIA 
SCE 301 WEEK1 
MATERIAL WRITTEN BY AKIN FATOYINBO, IS USED IN THIS PRESENTATION.
INTRODUCTION 
 Mass media in Africa have undergone tremendous 
changes in the last decade. 
 The monopoly by government ...
WHAT IS MASS MEDIA? 
 A medium is a ‘channel of communication’ - a means 
through which people send and receive informati...
 Mass, as you probably realise, means ‘many’ and what we 
are interested in here is how and why different forms of 
media...
NEWSPAPERS IN AFRICA  Except in those countries undergoing serious social and 
political crises (Sierra Leone, Liberia, C...
 Ten years ago, in most French-speaking countries in West 
Africa, there was usually just one national daily 
newspaper; ...
RADIO IN AFRICA 
 The strongest government media monopoly broken in the 
last decade is that of the radio. 
 Government ...
 Now, in almost every country in Africa, private radio 
stations proliferate, most of them broadcasting on 
frequency mod...
STATE OF THE AFRICAN MEDIA 
 The key question however, is whether the increase in 
numbers has led to improvements in the...
 Of all the media, newspapers remain the most combative 
and aggressive in their efforts to develop editorial 
independen...
 There is much superficial treatment of news and 
information.
IMPACT OF RADIO 
 Radio is undoubtedly the most powerful instrument for 
nation-building in Africa. 
 Given our oral tra...
 There is always the tendency to forget that Africa has a 
rich media tradition. 
 Indigenous communication systems have...
 The negative effects have been the extreme focus of 
the private radio stations on commercialism and the 
external cultu...
AFRICAN PRIVATE TELEVISION 
 Television in Africa is improving and is gradually becoming 
a powerful instrument for publi...
 However, many of the new private stations face major 
problems. 
 Most of them are underfunded, overly commercialized, ...
 This invasion of African TV by external programs is mainly 
due to the weak financial base of the stations and the 
lack...
NEWS AGENCIES 
 The news agency is usually the pillar of the modern 
media system in most societies. 
 It is the source ...
 Working mostly as departments or agencies of 
government ministries, the national news agencies suffer 
the plight of th...
NEW COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY 
 Internet's threat to news agencies comes mainly from two 
factors: its multimedia capacity...
 News and information can now be packed not only in 
words, but also in sound, pictures and moving images! 
 This is a f...
MEDIA AND DEVELOPMENT 
 In recent years, African journalism has undergone 
enormous and, generally speaking, positive cha...
 However, the improvement which has occurred in the 
formal basic training of African journalists has not, in most 
cases...
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? 
 There is as a vicious circle between journalists and public 
authorities. 
 These poorly writte...
 Training; specialization; and the creation of information 
and communication units in ministries. 
 Journalists need to...
 The journalistic staff of African media must include 
specialists in the various areas of development, such as 
agricult...
 In order to facilitate access of the media to information, 
all ministries and government departments and institutions 
...
 However, the profession of public relations is not very 
much developed in these countries.
 Most press attachés see their role as protectors of officials 
and guardians of information, rather than as information ...
REFLECTION PAPER 
 Think about radio, newspaper and television content in 
your country. 
 Of the three, which is your f...
Week 1 Mass Media
Week 1 Mass Media
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Week 1 Mass Media

  1. 1. MASS MEDIA SCE 301 WEEK1 MATERIAL WRITTEN BY AKIN FATOYINBO, IS USED IN THIS PRESENTATION.
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION  Mass media in Africa have undergone tremendous changes in the last decade.  The monopoly by government has been broken.  Radio and television are improving and are gradually becoming powerful instruments for public information and education.  Despite progress made, mass media in Africa remains constrained by acute problems including a lack of financial, human and material resources.
  3. 3. WHAT IS MASS MEDIA?  A medium is a ‘channel of communication’ - a means through which people send and receive information.  The printed word, for example, is a medium; when we read a newspaper or magazine, something is communicated to us in some way.  Similarly, electronic forms of communication - television, telephones, film and such like - are media (the plural of medium).
  4. 4.  Mass, as you probably realise, means ‘many’ and what we are interested in here is how and why different forms of media are used to transmit to – and be received by – large numbers of people (the audience).  Mass media, therefore, refer to channels of communication that involve transmitting information in some way, shape or form to large numbers of people.  The question of exactly how many a “large number” has to be to qualify as a “mass” is something that’s generally left undefined - it’s one of those things that we know when we see it...
  5. 5. NEWSPAPERS IN AFRICA  Except in those countries undergoing serious social and political crises (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Somalia) the mass media in Africa have undergone tremendous, and generally positive, changes in the last decade.  As a result of the democracy movement of the early 1990s, the monopoly of media by government has been broken.  In virtually every African country, private newspapers are flourishing.
  6. 6.  Ten years ago, in most French-speaking countries in West Africa, there was usually just one national daily newspaper; invariably it was government-owned, with a few privately-sponsored newspapers struggling to survive as weeklies, bi-weeklies and monthlies.  Today, in a city like Cotonou, Benin, there are over eight daily newspapers-all but one are privately-owned-and almost every year, a new title appears on the street.  The situation is similar in virtually every African country.
  7. 7. RADIO IN AFRICA  The strongest government media monopoly broken in the last decade is that of the radio.  Government authorities have always considered radio and television broadcasting as their own cherished territory, not to be penetrated by private operators.
  8. 8.  Now, in almost every country in Africa, private radio stations proliferate, most of them broadcasting on frequency modulation (FM) Channels, with relatively low output and coverage area.
  9. 9. STATE OF THE AFRICAN MEDIA  The key question however, is whether the increase in numbers has led to improvements in the quality of production and service to society, particularly in the promotion of economic and social development.  The answer, in a few cases, is a partial yes; but in most cases, the conclusion is negative.  The African mass media system, despite its growth, faces age-old problems stemming from poor ownership structure, a weak financial base, low quality staff (particularly journalists), lack of access to information, and conflict with authorities.
  10. 10.  Of all the media, newspapers remain the most combative and aggressive in their efforts to develop editorial independence, open up the society, and make themselves relevant.  In Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Uganda and Cameroon, not to mention Nigeria under the late General Abacha, newspapers have been confronting the authorities in their efforts to broaden the debate on national issues.  Unfortunately however, the focus of many of the newspapers is still overwhelmingly political and personality-oriented, and less on issues of development.  The screaming headlines on the front pages highlight corruption, political in-fighting, scandals, or the family crises of personalities.
  11. 11.  There is much superficial treatment of news and information.
  12. 12. IMPACT OF RADIO  Radio is undoubtedly the most powerful instrument for nation-building in Africa.  Given our oral tradition it is a medium through which all Africans can be reached easily.  In fact, radio has picked up as traditional media systems are being discarded.  But, as is often the case in Africa, dualism also subsists in the media -the old coexisting with the modern.
  13. 13.  There is always the tendency to forget that Africa has a rich media tradition.  Indigenous communication systems have always existed to dialogue, inform, educate, and solve social conflicts.  The expansion of radio, particularly rural and community radio, is reducing the impact of these traditional systems.  Unfortunately, radio broadcasting in Africa has many structural weaknesses.  The establishment of private radio stations has expanded the coverage and the plurality of information access to many segments of the population, particularly the urban and peri-urban poor.
  14. 14.  The negative effects have been the extreme focus of the private radio stations on commercialism and the external cultural domination conveyed through their music.  Nevertheless, there are exceptions and reasons for hope.  Rural and community radio stations present opportunities for the dissemination of development information and public education.  This in turn, might guarantee the survival of the stations, particularly if they respond to the needs of their listeners for substantive information on the issues that concern them: health, education for their children, economics, and so on.
  15. 15. AFRICAN PRIVATE TELEVISION  Television in Africa is improving and is gradually becoming a powerful instrument for public education, entertainment and information.  African Governments are giving up their monopolistic control.  Private TV stations are being established, and they are forcing the government-owned stations to wake up.  Official television stations are under pressure to move their focus away from reporting the activities and official communiqués of the president and government ministers.
  16. 16.  However, many of the new private stations face major problems.  Most of them are underfunded, overly commercialized, and have become re-transmitters of programs by powerful, Western TV stations.
  17. 17.  This invasion of African TV by external programs is mainly due to the weak financial base of the stations and the lack of local production capacities.  Stations cannot produce because they do not have the equipment.  Very often, there are no cameras to go on a city reportage, not to speak of organizing the coverage of events in rural areas- unless, of course, the minister is visiting.
  18. 18. NEWS AGENCIES  The news agency is usually the pillar of the modern media system in most societies.  It is the source of national news and re-distributor of international news to all media houses.  This is particularly true in Africa, where national news agencies enjoy a virtual monopoly in the collection and distribution of national and international news.  With a few exceptions, African national news agencies are failing in their task because of acute shortages of resources-human, material and financial.
  19. 19.  Working mostly as departments or agencies of government ministries, the national news agencies suffer the plight of the state institutions in Africa.  But now, African news agencies face a new challenge, if not a threat: the Internet.
  20. 20. NEW COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY  Internet's threat to news agencies comes mainly from two factors: its multimedia capacity; and its democratization of information production, access and distribution.  The monopoly enjoyed by news agencies in the collection, processing and distribution of news no longer exists.  It is now easy for individuals or organizations to get their information disseminated throughout the world via the information highway.
  21. 21.  News and information can now be packed not only in words, but also in sound, pictures and moving images!  This is a far cry from the one-dimensional process of information flow in news agencies and its single medium mode of distribution.  Africa has the world's lowest use of Internet and information technology.  Yet, these offer the greatest hope for the future.  The primary commodity of the 21st Century will be information; information translated into knowledge, education and savoir-faire.
  22. 22. MEDIA AND DEVELOPMENT  In recent years, African journalism has undergone enormous and, generally speaking, positive change.  Coinciding with the general rise in education levels of the overall population, and especially of professionals, the training of new recruits in African journalism has substantially improved.  The minimum educational qualifications for young reporters in several countries is now a university degree or a professional diploma.
  23. 23.  However, the improvement which has occurred in the formal basic training of African journalists has not, in most cases, led to an upgrading of professional skills.  One of the factors contributing to this paradox is the lack of specialization among African journalists.  Unlike what happens elsewhere in the world, the news rooms in Africa are filled with general reporters.  These reporters receive daily assignments to cover events and stories in various sectors, which are sometimes very complex.  The result is that articles are often not based on solid research, or are poorly written and superficial.
  24. 24. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?  There is as a vicious circle between journalists and public authorities.  These poorly written articles, based on a lack of knowledge and expertise, give rise to a certain scorn for journalists by political leaders who refuse to provide information.  They contend that journalists are badly informed and will simply distort the facts.  Without access to information, the journalist is obliged to quote the minister in articles which are often misleading and inaccurate, thus perpetuating the vicious circle.
  25. 25.  Training; specialization; and the creation of information and communication units in ministries.  Journalists need to be trained.  They need to read more, increase their access to information sources, including subscribing to specialized agencies for bulletins, press releases and publications.  They also need to become computer literate.  Most African journalists hand-write their articles and submit them to secretaries for typing.
  26. 26.  The journalistic staff of African media must include specialists in the various areas of development, such as agriculture, education, environment, health, economy and finance.
  27. 27.  In order to facilitate access of the media to information, all ministries and government departments and institutions should have information and communication units - in the same way that the private sector has corporate affairs officers.  Such information and communication officers would:  Serve as intermediaries between the media and the authorities, provide information to the media and organize regular encounters between both groups;  Build trust and competence, both with and in the media, and within government ministries;  Integrate communication into the public policy dialogue process and plan the communication strategy and outreach campaigns for public policy dialogue and consensus building.
  28. 28.  However, the profession of public relations is not very much developed in these countries.
  29. 29.  Most press attachés see their role as protectors of officials and guardians of information, rather than as information sources and intermediaries between political authorities, journalists and the public.  Journalists must be assisted by the authorities and their development partners to have access to information in order to be more effective in educating the public on policy issues.  If these steps were followed consistently, the vicious circle could be broken.
  30. 30. REFLECTION PAPER  Think about radio, newspaper and television content in your country.  Of the three, which is your favourite form of local mass media?  Are there any changes (news or entertainment) which you would like to see made in this medium? If so, why? (Minimum 250 words)

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