Archive for the 'opinion' Category

Community Broadcasting in a Digital Nigeria

Africast 2008, a biannual conference on African broadcasting, took place in Abuja, Nigeria 21-23 October, 2008. This year’s theme was “Digitisation and the Challenges of Broadcasting”.

During a special session on community broadcasting, Jummai Umar, Citizenship Program Manager for Microsoft Nigeria and Anglophone West Africa, presented a paper Amplifying the People’s Voices: Community Broadcasting in a Digital Era. Jummai has kindly allowed us to publish her paper here.

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Community media in a digital age

Community radio in a digital ageThe World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNESCO, recently published a book about community radio use of digital technologies.? Fighting Poverty: Utilizing Community Media in a Digital Age is based on a series of reflections raised during a roundtable on community radio and new technologies at the World Congress on Communication for Development (Rome, October 2006) and later further developed by workshop participants and others.

The ostensible subject of this publication is community media. The real focus of the text is on democratic and sustainable development. It reflects the main interest of those who support or are active in community radio, an interest that does not centre on technology, equipment, infrastructure or spectrum. Their interest focuses on participation.

The publication and additional audio and video material can be downloaded from AMARC’s website or you can order a print copy from here.

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Media Development and the New Media

CIMAScaling a Changing Curve: Traditional Media Development and the New Media: Shanthi Kalathil, a media and development consultant, authored this report on new media. The report examines the implications of new information and communication technologies for the media-assistance field, and how these innovations can be incorporated into traditional media-development models.

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Ethan Zuckerman on “the only technology that compares to the mobile phone”

In a paper entitled “Mobile Phones and Social Activism: Why cell phones may be the most important technical innovation of the decade” originally published on his blog, Ethan Zuckerman argues that the cell phone may be “may be the most important technical innovation of the decade”. Zuckerman, a Fellow affiliated with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law Schools in the United States, traces some trends in the use of the mobile phone around the world as an “activist technology”. His core thesis is that mobiles are powerful because they’re “pervasive, personal, and capable of authoring content.” Zuckerman’s article also addresses the issue of mobile phones used in conjunction with broadcast radio:

The only technology that compares to the mobile phone in terms of pervasiveness and accessibility in the developing world is the radio. Indeed, considered together, radios and mobile phones can serve as a broad-distribution, participatory media network with some of the same citizen-media dynamics of the Internet, but accessible to a much wider, and non-literate audience.

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Convergence for development

APC logoA paper by Carlos Rivadeneyra Convergencia para el desarrollo: Radiodifusión comunitaria como estrategia para la inclusión digital” (in English “Convergence for development: Community radio as a digital inclusion strategy) has been recently released by APC. The paper is available in Spanish only.

The distinction between “new” and “old” technology is no longer significant in the current state of technology convergence. People from community radios and telecentres are working together for more democratic and participatory access to communication, specifically in rural and poor urban areas. This paper by Carlos Rivadeneyra provides conceptual tools to re-think, from this perspective, what we understand by information society.

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