[FoME] Digital Media, Conflict and Diasporas in the Horn of Africa / Somali Media Environment

Christoph Dietz Christoph.Dietz at CAMECO.ORG
Mi Feb 29 14:07:04 CET 2012

1. Digital Media, Conflict and Diasporas in the Horn of Africa
by Iginio Gagliardone and Nicole Stremlau
Open Society Foundation, 2012

The Horn of Africa is one of the least connected regions in the world.
Nevertheless, digital media play an important social and political role
in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia (including South-Central Somalia and
the northern self-declared independent Republic of Somaliland).

This paper shows how the development of the internet, mobile phones,
and other new communication technologies have been shaped by conflict
and power struggles in these countries. It addresses some of the puzzles
that characterize the media in the region: for example, how similar
rates of penetration of media such as the internet and mobile phones
have emerged in Somalia, a state which has not had a functioning
government for two decades, and in Ethiopia, one of the countries with
the most pervasive and centralized political apparatus in Africa.

The paper also gives particular attention to the role played by
diasporas, which have been highly influential in starting the first
websites, blogs and forums covering the politics of the Horn and
facilitating debates among Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis living at
home or abroad. The paper concludes by discussing the often-innovative,
but little acknowledged, ways in which digital media have blended with
their predecessors to fashion unique hybrid media and communications

2. An analysis of the Somali media environment
By Sonia Whitehead et al.
London: BBC World Service Trust, Research and Learning Group, 2011

In 2006 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST), funded by the UK
Department for International Development, conducted research into media
in 17 countries across sub-Saharan Africa in order to identify
priorities for future media development initiatives. A series of African
Media Development Initiative (AMDI) reports were produced, and this
Media Sector Analysis builds on the Somalia component of that work. This
analysis has been produced in consultation with media stakeholders and
is grounded in a review of previously published material. The report is
just one component of a larger media development project being delivered
by the BBC WST entitled ‘Strengthening Radio Stations in Somalia to
Promote Human Rights, Peace and Governance’ - a two-year project which
aims to enhance the reach, levels of audience participation and
professional capacity of Somali media. The media, and specifically,
radio, is seen as a key local institution well placed to promote
individual human and civil rights, freedom of expression and democratic
dialogue. The project is informed by a rights perspective, ensuring that
actions separately and collectively empower marginalised citizens, in
particular, women and young people, to engage in direct dialogue with
local authorities and thus have improved access to their civil and
political rights. The project comprises two other strands in addition to
the Media Sector Analysis: Capacity-building in six Somali radio
stations ...; media-related training for civil society rganisations ...
This report will inform the above project strands, as well as providing
a basis for the development of media policy in the Somali region.
(source: foreword)

Christoph Dietz
Postfach 10 21 04 
D-52021 Aachen, Germany
Tel.: 0049 - 241 - 70 13 12 14
Fax: 0049 - 241 - 70 13 12 33
christoph.dietz at cameco.org 

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