[FoME] New MeCoDEM Working Paper | Mapping Structural Conditions of Journalism in Egypt, Kenya, Serbia and South Africa

Ines Drefs drefsi at hotmail.de
Di Jul 19 17:49:52 CEST 2016


This working paper and single country reports are now available for download at: http://www.mecodem.eu/publications/working-papers 

This working paper maps the structural conditions relevant to journalism and conflict communication in Egypt, Kenya, Serbia and South Africa, using a wide range of country-specific academic literature and reports compiled by various non-academic organisations active in the media sector. 

     * 'Structural conditions' are to be understood as the totality of (formal and informal) orders and structures that characterise media and journalism in a certain space, most commonly, a country.

     * Eleven interrelated and interdependent dimensions of structural conditions relevant to media and journalism have been extracted and adapted from existing literature, guiding structured and comprehensive analysis within specific (country) contexts: (1) historical development, (2) political system, (3) political culture, (4) media freedom, (5) level of state control and regulation of media by the state, (6) media ownership and financing, (7) structure of media markets and patterns of information distribution, (8) orientation of media, (9) political/societal activity and parallelism of media, (10) journalism culture, and (11) journalistic professionalism.

     * EGYPT: The analysis suggests that in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution there were short term trends towards media liberalisation in Egypt, though structural conditions of media and journalism today are characterised by an authoritarian and centralistic political system, a clientelist political culture, an oppressive legal and regulatory framework, significant state control and interference in all kinds of media, a climate of fear and the prosecution of journalists.

     * KENYA: Analysis suggests that media and journalism in Kenya face highly complex and changing structural conditions shaped by the country's colonial and authoritarian legacy, its cultural and ethnic diversity, by hybrid forms of current political governance, and an ambivalent political culture characterised by a strong state, majoritarian politics, and a system of clientelism favouring non-compliance with the rule of law and corruption.

     * SERBIA: Serbia's structural conditions of journalism developed against the country's political history which over the past three decades has included a communist regime as part of ex-Yugoslavia, followed by an authoritarian/nationalist system ruled by Slobodan Milosevic until his ousting in 2000 following mass demonstrations. With a multi-party system and conflict-free elections, Serbia has been described as a semi-consolidated, electoral democracy albeit with a culture of disconnect between the government and the citizens.

     * SOUTH AFRICA: Against the backdrop of the country's authoritarian political history of racial segregation and a culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse society, journalism scholarship in South Africa revolves around debates on the role and responsibility of the media in facilitating the ongoing consolidation of democracy; specifically, whether media's emphasis should be placed on acting in the 'public interest' or the much contested 'national interest', and emerging definitions of the most appropriate ethical frameworks. 

MeCoDEM began on 1 February 2014 and will run over three years. The project investigates the interplay of communication and democratisation conflicts in four countries, Egypt, Kenya, Serbia and South Africa, each of them representing unique aspects of transitional / post-transitional divisions. Based on a comparative case study design, the research covers constitutional conflicts, civic conflicts and conflicts surrounding accountability and good governance. These conflicts constitute arenas of dispute where the media interact with the communicative strategies of governments on the one hand, and political activists and political movements struggling for recognition on the other. MeCoDEM is funded by the European Union within the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. With a budget of 2.2 million Euros, the project consortium includes eight partner institutions from six countries: University of Leeds (coordinating institution), University of Belgrade, University of Hamburg, University of Cape Town, University of Oxford, Stockholm University, Ruhr University Bochum and American University in Cairo. 

Prof Barbara Thomass | Barbara.Thomass at rub.de 
Website: www.mecodem.eu | Twitter:@MeCoDEM


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