A new era for African media

The advent of digital media has turned the media landscape upside down. The news cycle moves at lightning speed, thanks to live tweeting, blogging and citizen journalism, all unknown just a few years ago.

Fibre optics have revolutionised the telecommunications industry, the internet is getting cheaper and faster and more communities are logging on, even in remote areas in Africa. More people use their smartphones to receive digital content than ever before.

To remain accessible, conventional media practitioners in Africa are adapting to a new media world that is time-sensitive and more interactive. Advocacy journalism, in particular, is growing exponentially—bloggers and citizen journalists are mobilising for various causes, including good governance.

Although a lot has changed in media technology and operations over the last 15 years, society still looks to the media to play its traditional role—to inform, educate and entertain.

In Africa the media plays an even more critical role, that of deepening and institutionalising democracy. Citizens need to be informed as nations take on new responsibilities in a globalised world.

“Media plays an important role in building an informed society. Citizens need credible information from a media that can skillfully moderate debate and provoke meaningful conversations that can lead to transforming Africa,” says Eric Chinje, chief executive officer of the African Media Initiative (AMI), a Nairobi-based pan-African organisation that seeks to strengthen the continent’s media.

To play its role effectively, according to Chinje, the media must see itself as instrumental to ensuring and improving the quality of life in society.

“Journalists see themselves as watchdogs. Instead, I see the media as a leader. Watchdogs just sit down and watch, but a leader stands up and leads. You have to walk and work,” Chinje said in an interview with Africa Renewal.

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Source: Bizcommunity