Tag Archive for 'Ghana'

Radio and ICT in West Africa : Connectivity and Use

Panos West Africa has published the results of a  base-line study of West African radio connectivity to ICTs (internet, satellite, computer, digital storage tools, etc.), analyzing the uses implemented, identifying the constraints and opportunities, and making recommendations to the different stakeholders. The study concentrated on seven countries (Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso & Niger) and considered  public, community, commercial and religious radio stations. Two hundred and twenty radio stations took part in the survey. The main tools of research used were questionnaires, interviews and documentary analysis.

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Community media and SMS text messages

SMSAt first glance SMS text messages would seem like a natural for inclusion in a community radio station’s essential toolkit. SMS messages are inexpensive and easy-to-use and in recent years the mobile phones that are needed for sending and receiving them have become ubiquitous. However, a survey of recent projects indicates that use of SMS messages among community media in the developing world is still at an early stage. In most stations SMS use is informal. The few cases identified of community stations making more complex use of SMS messages have accompanied political crises or natural disasters and have inevitably been donor financed. There are few, if any, experiences of complex uses of SMS by community media without external funding and technical support, even though the financial and technical resources required are minimal.

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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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