This book gives an overview of current debates surrounding press freedom in Africa in response to ongoing contestations between media and governments on the continent. Through case studies of individual African countries as well as international comparisons, a wide range of global contributors provide critical assessments of the state of press freedom on the continent and critical perspectives on the dominant discourses around freedom and democracy.
Some fear an alarming slide towards a media-intolerant environment in South Africa, and the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal and the Protection of State Information Bill (POSIB) have met with strong criticism from journalism practitioners and educators. This book examines these and other recent developments seen to represent a threat to press freedom on the African continent. Contributors to the volume take a comparative look at the situation in South Africa within a broader, global context of transitions to democracy and globalised marketization of the media, as well as inspecting specific African examples that may serve to illuminate broader trends. Case studies from different African countries are examined, but in the process the discourses around press freedom are also subjected to critical scrutiny. Critics state that the South African media are not without fault, and that part of journalism scholarship’s role is to continue to point to these shortcomings and to suggest ways of improving the media’s democratic responsibility.
Press Freedom in Africa provides a range of perspectives on the heated debates surrounding press freedom. It illustrates the importance of research-based, scholarly interventions into the often emotional and rhetorical debates surrounding the role of the media in African society.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Press Freedom in a "Game" of Interests Francis B. Nyamnjoh 1. Press Freedom in Africa: Discourses, debates, controversies Herman Wasserman 2. South African media in comparative perspective Colin Sparks 3. Growing pains in the development of a free press in Africa and Asia: A comparative analysis – South Africa and India Jiafei Yin 4. Best practice in media self-regulation: A three-way test to avoid selective borrowing and ad hoc transplants Guy Berger 5. Development journalism revived: The case of Ethiopia Terje S. Skjerdal 6. Going back to the crossroads: Visions of a democratic media future at the dawn of the new South Africa Gabriël J. Botma 7. The ANC’s poverty of strategy on media accountability Jane Duncan 8. Whose freedom? South Africa’s press, middle-class bias and the threat of control Steven Friedman 9. The present is another country: A comment on the 2010 media freedom debate Peter D. McDonald
Herman Wasserman is Professor and Deputy Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. He has published widely on media in post-apartheid South Africa and edits the journal Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies.