Joseph Mureithi

Supervisor: Bart Cammaerts and Linje Manyozo

Research Topic: Radio in Good Governance and Sustainable Development in Africa.

I am interested in the relationship between private radio, state media and the public sphere. The advent of multi-party democracy in many parts of Africa in the early 1990s was accompanied by a gradual liberalisation of broadcast media which in turn led to the mushrooming of private FM radio stations. In some countries private radio has developed to the extent of challenging the power and influence of state broadcasters. This growth has not necessarily been matched by a change in the communications and regulatory framework. The result is a confused scramble for the public space with sometimes devastating consequences as happened in the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and to a lesser extent in Kenya's post-election violence in 2008. As the most widely accessed medium in Africa, Radio has historically been a key partner in promoting development and literacy on the continent. This public service broadcast remit traditionally rested on the shoulders of the state monopolies. However, the new plural media market has produced competing priorities and commercial challenges. My research explores the role that private radio can play in promoting good governance and democracy in Africa. There has been a lot of focus on state and public service broadcasting in Africa, but because it is a relatively new phenomenon little academic attention has been given to private radio. The aim of my research therefore is to produce a new private radio model and recommendations for reforming broadcast and communications policy in Africa.

Research Interests: Public Vs private space in Africa; impact of digital communications technology on African society; private radio Vs state radio; relationship between good governance and development