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The media have key role to play in making development effective in Africa

POLIS at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) launches new report

The news media and journalists are the key to making development effective in Africa and to holding African politicians to account. And the international community can and must do much more to promote the role of the media across the continent.

These are the core issues discussed in a new report edited by Charlie Beckett and Laura Kyrke-Smith at POLIS|, the journalism and society think tank at LSE and the London College of Communication.

The report, Development, Governance and the Media: the role of the media in building African society, follows a major conference which was held in partnership with the BBC World Service Trust, Panos, Concern, UNESCO UK, Open University, the Communication for Social Change Consortium and DFID.

The report asks:

  • How can the international development community respond effectively to the credible demand from Africa for the media to play a role in its development?
  • How much can the news media in Africa positively promote African development and good governance?
  • How successful have journalists been in challenging stereotypes?

The report covers four main themes:

  • Media and Power
  • Media and the Millennium Development Goals
  • Media and Fragile States
  • Media and New Technology

POLIS Director Charlie Beckett said: 'Globally we are witnessing a major transition from conventional modern journalism to 'networked journalism'. Across the world people are enjoying the benefits of a more free press and they are also taking part in the internet communications revolution. Africa should be no different. We are on the eve on something big in Africa thanks to the dedication of journalists and the enterprise of the public in using new technologies alongside the whole range of news media platforms.

'But if we want this news media growth to have good social and political consequences then now is the time to invest in media for development and governance. This report is an attempt to raise the issues, enthuse the experts and listen to the African practitioners.'

This report sets out how networked journalism can be seized upon to improve development and good governance on the African continent. Understanding this new media environment - and where it is heading - is vital to developing new and better strategies for media development in Africa.

At the launch event, African Development Bank senior communications director and chair of the African Media Initiative, Eric Chinje, will give a keynote address. This will be followed by a panel debate where the report's contributors and POLIS Director Charlie Beckett will be taking your questions.

'Development, Governance and the Media: the role of the media in building African society' is on Wednesday 27 June at 4.30pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE. The panel debate will be followed by a drinks reception in the Senior Dining Room. Registration is required.

Click here to download the full report

Ends

Contact: To register to attend this event, to arrange interviews with participants or for more information or copies of the report, contact Laura Kyrke-Smith, POLIS, on 020 7107 5249 or email polis@lse.ac.uk|

26 June 2007

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