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Table of contents

An ill-defined power with ethics
as its sole legitimacy

Ouagadougou debates
Media, languages and development
A global forum for media development

Paradox. With the advent of democracy
journalism is made more precarious

Forum Media and Development in Ouagadougou:
The relationship between the fourth estate
and the other powers has to be fostered (Jean Ping)
Democracy needs opposing forces (Louis Michel)

Cautious hope:
2 freedom of expression in southern africa 10
East africa: not all that glitters is gold 12
"From Freetown to the Hague: my coverage
3 of Charles Taylor's trial" 14
4 Securing democracy in the Caribbean 16
5 Media and development in the Pacific Islands 18
Fondation Hirondelle: media in conflict zones
for millions of listeners 19
The key role of the satirical press in the removal
of the sacred aura surrounding power in Africa 21
Aminatou Sar, coach for childjournalists 22
Plante Jeunes: information and entertainment 23

9 Trends in the digital divide in Africa 24

he press (or the media as it is now called)
is considered to be the fourth estate of
power after the executive, the legislative
and the judiciary. Each of the latter three
has well-defined responsibilities, owing legitimacy
in a democracy directly or indirectly to the choice of
the people.
Today, in terms of semantics, the words press and
media have become imprecise descriptions of their
function. 'Press', a word more widely used in Latin
countries, initially referred to print publications, but
has come progressively over time to include radio
and television as well. However, the word has had its
limitations; nobody, for example, has ever thought of
including cinema in it not even documentary films.
The word 'media', in comparison, has been used more
in Anglo-Saxon countries, especially those that early
on popularised the expression 'mass media'. All the
same, governments and other state institutions continue
to issue 'press cards', seemingly setting to one side all
the professionals from other media outlets. Therefore,
there is a semantic discrimination, or divide, between
journalistic media and all other media. The difference
between so-called journalistic media and the rest of
the profession (including everything from blogs to
company newsletters and government publications) is
that the latter are not bound by what one can perhaps
describe pompously as press ethics. Ethics of a kind,
perhaps best described as being close to those of sci-
entists who in their own professions agree to weigh the
facts and opinions both in favour and against their case
when seeking out the truth.

But honesty for honesty's sake is not enough; we also
need to reduce the risks of error to a minimum. That
is where the need for quality comes in. Additionally,

we also need to respect the moral rules that determine
the limits of information that is made available to the
public at large, allowing them to make up their own
minds about issues that affect them.

What makes the difference is that thejournalistic press
(or media if you prefer) should simply inform, while
respecting the rules and ethics it has adopted for itself.
It is this balanced information that allows people to
educate themselves and acquire the ability to make
their own choices. That is the big difference.

Sadly, in the real world, the press can be forced by
political or other powers to adopt a less than independ-
ent position. Indeed, it sometimes has little choice but
to accept to do as it is told. Much of this was debated
and discussed in depth at the Media and Development
Forum organised recently in Ouagadougou, Burkina
Faso, by the respective Commissions of the European
Union and the African Union. Also under the spotlight
was how the journalistic media participate in develop-
ment and perhaps can eventually constitute a fourth
estate without real power but with ethics as its sole
'raison d'tre'.

But this can only be achieved under the condition that
the real powers the politicians, bankers and busi-
nessmen leave the press to accomplish their task as
an independent voice. However, as this issue of The
Courier explains, this is no easy task for either side
to achieve. We also examine the state and progress of
the press in the ACP countries and how ways are being
found to move forward for future progress.

Hegel Goutier
Editor-in-( I-. F


The Media and Development Forum held in Ouagadougou focused on four key themes:
the media and good governance; media freedom and differences between the legal
framework and the situation in the field; Europe's stereotype image ofAfrica and vice
versa and the role of local media. The conclusions of the Forum on each of these issues
were adopted by the European Commission and the Commission of the African Union
as the basis for creating a road map* for the future.

> The media and governance

The round-table on media and governance
was chaired by Derge Thophile Balima,
Director of CERAM (African Centre for
Media and Communication Expertise and
Research). He stressed that the African media
should act as a counterweight, overseeing
developments with a critical eye, but this
role was today increasingly challenged by
the arrival of other information media in
the hands of the corporate sector and large
He also pointed to the part played by the
Internet, as this slips from the control of
African legislators. Today, African states are
being urged to take legislative steps to guaran-
tee unimpeded access to free information, but,
in reality, governments in many countries are
keeping hold of information : as in the case


of Senegal, where state agencies investigating
malpractices are not required to disclose the
information they have collected. Other African
media outlets are also reported to do little
more than relay or repeat information from
foreign media outlets.
Another person taking part in the talks,
Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda's Information
Minister, summed up the conclusions of the
debate, by suggesting that the media should
make a contribution in four specific ways: cir-
culating information; acting as the proponent
of good governance; highlighting worrying
developments and ensuring that freedoms are
Ultimately, the recommendations of the
'Media and Governance' panel may go toward
creating a suitable legal framework, adopting
a Euro-African media support strategy and
investing in media-related surveys.

> media freedom. The legal
framework and the situation
in the field

The debate on media freedom examined the
differences, if not the gap, between the legal
framework and day-to-day reality of press
freedom in Africa. Chairing the discussion
was Abdou Latif Coulibaly, who explained
how those in power continued to control the
television media, even in the wake of democ-
racy's transitional period. It was suggested that
any analysis of press freedom in Africa has to
take account of three distinct periods: the time
when democracy is in a state of transition; the
time when democracy holds sway and the time
when democracy is being further developed.
These periods of consolidation run parallel
with the increase in globalisation, calling for
measures that if not totally world-wide in


their scope should at least be harmonised in
one region of the world. This harmonisation
process is something that is sorely missing in
The round table on this theme reached the
same conclusions as the first, stressing the
need to set up supranational regulatory author-
ities to take these issues forward.

> Combating stereotypes

Chairing the round-table on the stereotype
image Europe has of Africa and vice versa,
Jean-Luc Maertens, head of Euronews, pointed
out that it was the media's responsibility for
perpetrating these stereotypes. The image of
Africa in Europe was that of an irresponsible
and incapable continent he suggested. While
the latter looks askance at Europe's perceived
egotistical and xenophobic attitudes. These
images are obviously hard to dispel but meas-
ures have to be taken to blunt the overall impact.
Examples of what can be done have included
putting strong pressure to bear on Internet sites

that convey these negative images and in lend-
ing support to initiatives to break down barriers
between the media on both sides.

> The role of local media

Chairing the debate on local media, Annie
Lenoble-Bart**, professor of information and
communications at the University of Bordeaux
III, emphasised the key role local radio broad-
casters play in the overall development proc-
ess, primarily because they are more adept at
reconciling local, regional and international
issues than other media. She also pointed to
the limitations of this type of local media, such
as their tendency to be caught up in localised,
on-the-ground issues that she referred to as
dealing with "local folklore."
Aminatou Sar, regional coordinator of 'Media
for Children', projects being carried out by the
NGO "PLAN", made one of the most memo-
rable speeches during the Forum, examining
all the issues addressed from the child's point-
of-view. She showed that they, just as much

as adults, are the victims of the restrictions
placed on a free press and why, therefore, it
was vital to support her organisation' s strategy
to allow children access to all kinds of media
across the continent.
The recommendations in this case prima-
rily involve capacity-building for local media
organizers and managers, while paying par-
ticular heed to specific groups, such as women
and children. M

* For more information on the 'road map', see article pub-
lished on Issue 8, page 23.
** 'Connatre les mdias d'Afrique subsaharienne' written
under the supervision of Annie Lenoble-Bart and Andre
Jean Tudesq.
For details of participants, discussions during the Forum,
see http://www.media-dev.eu/

Media and Development Forum;
Ouagadougou; Burkina Faso; Annie
Lenoble-Bart; Aminatou Sar; Abdou Latif
Coulibaly; Derge Thophile Balima; Louise
Mushikiwabo; governance; freedom;




Some 500 media experts from over 100 countries gathered in Athens on December
7-10 to attend the second Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD). Its goal?
To develop common strategies for media development and to ensure that free,
independent and pluralistic media are at the core of development programs.

O opened by the President of
Greece, Dr. Karolos Papoulias,
the conference was attended by
key speakers, such as Nobel-
Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and high-level rep-
resentatives from the UN, UNESCO, World
Bank and other intergovernmental institutions.
Senior media executives and key representa-
tives from a wide range of media development
organizations presented new and innovative
ideas for ensuring sustainability of independ-
ent media. The Conference is part of the one
year-long United Nations celebration of the
60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights that was launched on the
10th of December 2007 and was to close on

the final day of the Athens conference on the
10th of December 2008.
The Global Forum for Media Development
is a network of some 500 media assistance
organizations from 100 countries worldwide,
set up to highlight the importance of free,
independent and viable media to human and
economic development. It is the mission of
the GFMD, says its director, Bettina Peters,
to make media development an integral part
of overall development strategies, just like
education or health: "Too often, media assist-
ance is relegated to communicating develop-
ment goals and the GFMD aims to make
media assistance a sector in its own right. The
GFMD's basic values are free expression,

media freedom and independent journalism as
defined by internationally accepted documents
such as the UNESCO Windhoek Declaration.
The GFMD believes that free, independent,
viable and inclusive media are prerequisites
for creating and strengthening democratic
society and human development". M
Press freedom was a central topic at the Athens GFMD.
Illustration by the artist and cartoonist from Burkina Faso,
Hamidou Zoetaba.
Courtesy of the Forum Media and Development

Global Forum for Media Development
(GFMD); Athens; Greece; Karolos
Papoulias; Orhan Pamuk; UNESCO;
Bettina Peters.

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jet into ocean pluge

With the aduent of

journalism is made more



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With democracy, journalists acquire more freedom of expression. But there are a lot of

them out there as well as more media. Struggling for survival, most of them are faced

with the harsh reality of a limited market while, at the same time, the State budgets

allocated to the press are being reduced. Added to the market competition, new media

like company magazines and free sheets have appeared as well as media promoting the

interests of factions and religious groups. And then, last but not least, is the Internet.

cutting all that together, journalism > >
has become a more precarious pro-

session, with the associated risk of
declining standards and that is not
to mention the confusion between 'media'
produced by professionals fully committed to
upholding journalistic ethics and others who
don't or won't subscribe to the same stand-
When dictatorships were the norm in parts of
Africa and other developing regions, every
government or ruling party controlled the
press, effectively muzzling any attempt atjour-
nalistic independence. At that time the transi-
tion to democracy was often preceded by the
emergence of a courageous (written and audio-
visual) press. This was often initially made up
of a few mavericks who generally paid dearly
for their commitment and audacity: sometimes
with their lives. But their very existence was an
indicator of the beginning of the end for many
autocracies. The transition to democracy was
often coupled with an increase in the number
of media outlets and this heralded the begin-
ning of competition for an audience and for
advertising. It was also a period that brought
the emergence of a unipolar world with the
collapse of the Soviet bloc, structural adjust-
ments and other budgetary restrictions. The
new democratic governments rarely regarded
support for the press as a priority save for the
odd exception, like Tanzania; and even there
the regime had an objective, that of favouring
Swahili as the nation' s first language.

Given these precarious conditions, the jour-
nalistic profession has often become a poor
man's career and also linked to falling stand-
ards when compared with the earlier period
of transition. This is partly because recruit-
ment cannot be selective when wages are so
low and partly due to the lack of schools of
joumalism. Despite this, many joumalists in
the developing countries have the required
qualities and training to follow their profes-
sion in the best way possible and in general
have a qualification in journalism or some
similar diploma.
However, poor pay often puts ethical consid-
erations under extreme pressure. For exam-
ple a joumalist who lives in Ougadougou,
Kingston or elsewhere who is without trans-
port, or cannot buy a drink at a hotel where
he has to interview a foreign aid partner or
principal private secretary, and in order to
live, has to be partly in the pay of a lobby
group, a politician or a foreign agency, is
placed in a vulnerable situation when it comes
to the ethics of his or her profession. When
fighting for freedom of speech, independent
joumalists in the developing countries often
had to show exemplary courage. But what
about afterwards? You can be courageous and
make do with next to nothing while fighting
for freedom, but it is difficult to show such
courage throughout one's career.

Badly paid journalists constitute a ready pool
of labour for the communication needs of
large companies and organizations as well as
government and opposition politicians. They
also risk being attracted by religious sects
or factions that often have ample financial
resources. While most respect the rules of
democracy, that cannot be said of all of them.
Memories of Rwanda are still very vivid.

When, in order to survive, a journalist violates
the ethical rules of his profession, he is gener-
ally well aware of the fact. Indeed, the enemy
of press independence in the countries of the
South today are not the dictatorships of the
past, but the low wages of journalists. Those
employed by foreign or local media who pay
them a fair wage are increasingly recognized
for the quality of their work. Media in the
North are increasingly supportingjournalists in
the South, most often by organising work place-
ments. Another form of support, in this world
where distance is no longer a technical problem
in circulating and seeking information, could
be to employ their services, while of course
applying the customary rigour when recruiting
them. A growing number of European profes-
sionals are aware of this. H.G. I

The media had a devastating role in the Rwandan genocide. This illustration, published in July 1993 in
issue 46 of the newspaper, Kangura, is a symbol of the alliance between the extremist pro-hutu written
press, radio and television. Taken from the book entitled Rwanda. Les medias de la haine (by J.-P.
Chretien), Ed. Karthala. Courtesyof Karthala

Hegel Goutier; factionalism; democratic
transition; ethical journalism.




The relationship between the

FOURTH ESTATE and the other

POWERS has to be fostered

Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

The issue of media and development is neither new nor straightforward. It is still the
subject of much debate and involves a host of different players. Its relevance and key
role in terms of democratic governance, enshrined in the constitution of the African
Union, are no longer in doubt.

the media has to play in the devel-
opment efforts of our nations. This
is underlined by many examples
from everyday life in extremely diverse fields
such as education, healthcare, science and
technology, the environment, the fight against
poverty, promoting the rule of law and the
prevention of conflicts. In this respect, I would
like to highlight the remarkable contribu-
tion, for which I am extremely glad, of the
local media (community radio and television),
which meets very specific needs. It offers a
means of expression to the most disadvan-
taged groups of the local population and
favours a participative approach.
The Commission of the African Union intends
to contribute towards increasing the resources
of the African press to help it play a full role in
the continent's socio-economic development.

This is why we have made the training of
African journalists in the fields of science and
technology one of our priority programmes for
2009. This programme will consist of award-
ing 'African Union' scholarships to 106 young
African journalists two from each country -
for 24-month periods of training and speciali-
sation at institutions and editorial departments
in Africa and abroad. The aim is to overcome
the shortcomings established with regard to
the specialist press in the key area of science
and technology.
I would now like to take the opportunity to
pay a well-deserved tribute to those working
in the media and communication sector for
their invaluable contribution often operating
in difficult conditions and sometimes putting
their lives at risk to the consolidation of the
democratic process on the continent of Africa
and increasing the transparency of the man-

agement of public affairs. In this respect, the
importance of the independence of the media
in carrying out its task of conveying informa-
tion cannot be emphasised enough. Despite
significant progress made in recent years,
much remains to be done to consolidate the
freedom of the press and to make it an irrevo-
cable basis for democratic progress in Africa.
Indeed, the relationship between the fourth
estate and the other powers must be fostered
and consolidated. It is also important that we
help the African media to meet the challenge
of sustainability. More generally, considera-
tion should be given to the issue of establish-
ing a universal legal framework, which would
set out the duties and obligations of all parties
concerned and take account of the democratic
imperative. Could a pan-African charter on the
media be the answer? This issue is certainly
worthy of in-depth discussion. M





needs opposing


Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid

I am delighted to be able to express my views today on a subject that lies at the
heart of any democracy the role of the media. The freedom, independence, but not
necessarily neutrality, and the objectivity of the media as an information carrier are
vital for education, culture and development, as well as being indicators of a mature

I have always believed that democ-
racy needs opposing forces based on
the expression of different opinions.
Rhetorical confrontation often speeds up
progress in political, human and social terms.
It also has another virtue, which is to offer a
conciliatory outlet that often ensures the pacifi-
cation and stability of a particular community.
The democratic organisation of a society must
allow the government to explain andjustify its
actions, but should also guarantee the oppo-
sition parties the opportunity to challenge,
denounce and oppose measures and to propose
alternatives. A democracy can only survive if
it provides an alternative possibility.
It is the legislative, executive and judicial
powers that guarantee what we call the civil
state. But even the impartial exercise of these
powers is not sufficient, in my view, to ensure
a healthy modern democracy because it lacks


the challenging, even impertinent, vigilance of
civil society, the voice and plurality of which
are conveyed by the press. Only a free and
independent press can ensure what I call a fair
state. An effective press is therefore a neces-
sary element of democracy. A responsible and
independent media is a prerequisite for a fair
state. It is the guarantor of:
- free elections
- a responsible political, economic and admin-
istrative system
- a healthy democracy
- a progressive society
In short, it enables the progress of development.
The media is all of the following in one a
pillar of democracy, part of civil society, a
conveyor of information.
We are not coming here with ready-made
solutions. We are not coming with recommen-
dations because we have all the answers. The

issues which we will attempt to resolve apply
to Europe in the same way as to Africa. We
have to meet the same challenges financing,
independence, ethics, respect for the truth,
protection in the courts, protection of sources,
press specialised in political analysis and other
forms, plurality. We also have to look at the
vital role of local media, and the enormous
development potential it can generate in terms
of support for development projects, social
cohesion, and the mobilisation and involve-
ment of citizens. How can the media contrib-
ute to the governance and development of a
fair state? How can we establish a legal frame-
work to improve the situation of the media and
its freedom on the ground?
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of
this local dimension in development, which is
why the European Development Days 2008
have also focused on this theme. M

Case studies


Freedom of expression in Southern ffrica

by Rashweat Mukundu MISA *

Media and freedom of expression are increasingly a contentious issue in the Southern Africa
region with most countries in the process of discussing new media laws and suppression of
media rising in some countries. Southern Africa is still in the throes of developing its media and
countries such as Zimbabwe still have a long way to go in this area. To demonstrate the
state of media in Southern Africa one needs to look at the political struggles at the South
Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the closure of a newspaper in Tanzania
in October. These two countries are some of the most stable in the region and tremors in
these countries will reverberate in the rest of the region. While these new challenges arise,
the region still has to contend with some of the worst media laws in countries such as
Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. Not ail is lost as ICT (mobile phone and internet) usage
rises in the region, giving hope to millions still without access to information.

Africa, a project of the early 1990' s,
saw many changes in the region, crit-
ically; the independence of Namibia
and South Africa and consolidation of political
multipartism in Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania,
Botswana, Madagascar and Mozambique. At
the same time, the region had to deal with the
unfolding situations in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At
the centre of these challenges is the place of
media and freedom of expression rights in
national discourse, especially political trans-
formation, reporting human rights violations
and corruption. It is difficult, if not impossible,
to score Southern African countries on such
a basis but categories can be drawn. South
Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Madagascar,
Mauritius, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, and
Mozambique are probably in their own cat-
egory in which media plurality and diversity
can be said to exist, but not without challenges.
The media in these countries is fairly diversi-
fied, especially since the 1990s. This category
has numerous newspapers printed by private
players as well as government-owned media
broadcasting stations and newspapers. While

most state-owned media has played the role
of supporting government projects in what
this sector calls 'developmentjournalism', the
private or independent media has endeavoured
to report critically on issues of bad governance
and corruption. This has resulted in the private
media being tarred with the same brush as
opposition parties.

> Uiewed as the opposition

Being seen as part of the opposition comes
with its own challenges. In Namibia, for
example, the government still maintains a ban
on advertising in 'The Namibian' newspaper,
which it accuses of writing negatively about
the SWAPO-led government. In South Africa,
the government threatened to stop advertising
in the 'Sunday Times' after critical reporting
on an arms purchase scandal that has engulfed
the political leadership in that country. The
ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) in
South Africa has also proposed legislation that
would restrict media freedom. The same has
happened in Botswana.
Apart from the threats of economic sanctions,
all countries in this grouping have proposed

laws to curb media and journalistic freedom
under the guise of protecting national interests.
At the time of writing (in October 2008), the
Zambian government was at the throat of 'The
Post' newspaper, threatening to deal with the
newspaper should its Presidential candidate
and current Acting President, Rupiah Banda,
win the Presidential by-election in that coun-
try (ed note: Rupiah Banda won the October
2008 presidential election). In Malawi, the
state has threatened to shut down private radio
stations accused of supporting the opposi-
tion. Botswana once seen as the beacon
of hope in the continent is discussing a
Media Practitioners Bill, which critics have
likened to the infamous Zimbabwean Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) under which journalists and newspa-
pers have been harassed. Under the proposed
law, the government would register journal-
ists and subject them to a disciplinary code
developed by a government-appointed com-
mission. Those critical of Botswana's govern-
ment especially its handling of the minority
San communities have been bundled out of
the country. In Southern Africa, generally all
media has a fixation with politics while critical


Case studies

areas of concern to the common citizen have
been neglected. These include wider cover-
age of HIV-AIDS issues and gender-sensitive
reporting among others. Where corruption is
reported, it is mostly related to politics.
The second grouping of the media in Southern
Africa includes Zimbabwe, the DRC, Lesotho
and Swaziland. In these countries, the media
operates under tight control and threats are put
into action. Zimbabwe has in the past few years
banned four newspapers, and exiled several
journalists. The private media operates in a
legal minefield in which literally anything criti-
cal of the ruling elite can result in arrest. If one
escapes arrest, extra-judicial means have been
used including the murder of one independ-
ent camera person and beating of journalists.
Swaziland is increasingly tightening its control
of the media and freedom of expression rights
are trampled upon with impunity and increas-
ingly so. The growing demand for political plu-
rality is drawing the worst out of the world's
last absolute Monarch as marches, processions
and demonstrations are banned. The private
media is increasingly being called upon to
toe the line. The same happens in Lesotho,
where Harvest FM, a private radio station, was
handed a 12-month ban and private journalists
threatened with legal suits and arrests. In the
DRC, independent journalism is rarely toler-
ated and being a critic has dire consequences.
It is important to state that while media and
freedom of expression rights are still very
much in peril, investment in the region's
media is growing, except in a few countries
such as Zimbabwe. And even in Zimbabwe,
hope has been rekindled that a political settle-
ment between the main political rivals might
result in the relaxation of media and freedom
of expression laws. Of importance in Southern
Africa is the growing use of new technologies
in information generation and sharing. It is for
this reason that while the Zimbabwe govern-
ment could afford to ban all foreign media,
the story of Zimbabwe remained in the public
domain regionally and internationally due to
online publishing. Mobile telephone commu-
nication has given the common person new
power to communicate and share information
with few restrictions. A lot, however, still
needs to be done as far as repealing undemo-
cratic media laws goes, and encouraging the
development of media and telecommunica-
tions. Nonetheless, Southern Africa is chang-
ing, albeit slowly. M


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Media; Southern Africa; democracy; opposition; multipartism.

bouItIT MiiSH;*

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L Ation w it 'L of ices Iin1 conre in! the4 Sothr A f'r i'a Deelpm n C oTm'iiti i [DC

r"gion. I SA was ofiial lance n1 Sptemb' TL t ler 199 wit the aI'm1L1 1 of p romlti free,
I1de1endeltSlll and =11a'sli'cL meia, as' envi'age in1 the 199 Widhe Deliin. The
M IS reionaJl sceaiti ae nWnheNmii n oriae n aaia

cast stations have been described
as a great example of vibrant
media in a region where until the
'winds of change' of the 1990' s, the media had
largely remained either government mouth-
pieces or opposition outlets that dared estab-
lishments often with bitter consequences.
Today, coverage that is critical of the gov-
ernment is almost the norm in independent
newspapers while their government-owned
counterparts are not just about reproducing
official pronouncements as was so often the
case in the past. On radio, irreverent political
call-in talk shows are the dominant by-product
of the liberalisation of the airwaves.
But not all that glitters is gold. Ask Belgian
journalist and author Els de Temmerman.
On 1 December 2006, Ms de Temmerman

biggest newspaper, announcing in her "con-
tract with the public" that she was "not terribly
worried about press freedom in Uganda".
Admittedly, she also wrote that she had
requested for "sufficient guarantees of my edi-
torial independence" and only accepted thejob
after receiving these guarantees in writing.
The New Vision started as a government-
owned newspaper 22 years ago. Although it is
listed on the stock exchange (the government
had relinquished 20 per cent of its shares to the
public by the time de Temmerman took over,
and another 27 per cent more recently), the
government appoints the company's board,
chief executive, and editor-in-chief, and, it is
widely believed, meddles in the newspaper's
political coverage. However, The New Vision
has remained a lot more balanced and per-
formed excellently commercially than govern-


ment newspapers elsewhere on the continent.
On October 24, just shy of two years on the
job, Ms de Temmerman resigned from The
New Vision because she could "no longer count
on the assurances" of "editorial independence"
that she had been given when she took on the
job. Insiders said de Temmerman had resigned
after a heated exchange with the company's
chief executive, Robert Kabushenga, over
the paper's coverage of President Yoweri
Museveni. Apparently, State House expected
more prominent displays of pictures and sto-
ries about the President.
The reaction generated by the resignation
would suggest that 'political pressure' from an
establishment that wants to get a free pass in the
news is the biggest challenge for the country's
news media. Indeed, in recent years the biggest
local and international news on the Ugandan
media has been the reported government pres-
sure on the Aga Khan to rid the independent
Monitor newspaper of 'hostile' (read critical of
the government) managers and journalists. The
Aga Khan's interests in the region include the
Nation Media Group (NMG), which owns the
majority shares in Monitor Publications Ltd,
the publishers of Daily Monitor and Sunday
Monitor, as well as proprietors of KFM radio
station and the television station NTV.
Early last year, NTV was shut down by the
government for nearly two months in what


Case studies

was widely understood as pressure on NMG to
rein in the Monitor, which had continued car-
rying many stories critical of the President and
the government. The news media in Uganda,
as indeed in the rest of East Africa, continue to
face both blatant and subtle political pressure.
The region's news media also continue to
battle against strict media legislation, such as
laws on sedition, which criminalise publica-
tion offences. In Kenya, where the bench is
notorious for awarding exorbitant damages
in defamation cases filed by public officials,
civil law also remains a problem, especially
when some judges have gone as far as ruling
that private-commercial media cannot use
'public interest' in their defence. But these
political and legal strictures may not in fact be
the biggest threats to the media in East Africa.
The proliferation of newspapers and broadcast
stations following the liberalisation of the
airwaves in the 1990s often obscures the eco-
nomic challenges and in-house problems that
the region's media continue to grapple with.
Newspaper circulation remains alarmingly
low in countries such as Uganda and Rwanda.
For instance, in Uganda, with a population of
nearly 30 million, the combined daily news-
paper circulation is still estimated at less than
100,000 copies. The story is different in neigh-
bouring Kenya where the leading newspaper,
the Daily Nation, circulates about 170,000
copies a day. But generally, all over the region
only about four newspapers in each country
sell more than 10,000 copies a day. In fact,
with a few exceptions in each country, many
of the region's media outlets remain shaky
business enterprises. Moreover, while there
appears to be sufficient media diversity in
the region, with emerging community media
competing for audiences alongside aggressive
commercial outlets as well as state-owned
media, there are also fears that conglomeration
could in future undermine the media pluralism
that democracy demands.
The challenge of professionalism also remains.
Although the region's journalists are better
trained than ever before (several universities
in the region now offer degrees in journalism
and mass communication), there are still con-
cerns over professionalism and ethical stand-
ards in many newsrooms. The glaring inac-
curacies, lack of context, depth and analytical
rigour in the news coverage of many media
outlets as well as cases of 'brown envelope'
journalism undermine the credibility of media
institutions. Moreover, many newsrooms have
little 'institutional memory' because many of
the region's journalists end up in the more
lucrative fields of marketing, public relations,
and the NGO sector.



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business judgements increasingly assuming designs of
a greater role in shaping journalism in East widened th

advertisers, who are rarely subjected to any
meaningful journalistic scrutiny, there also is
more willingness to have promotional com-
pany stories masquerading as news. On top: Foun
. ofthe most
Make no mistake, East Africa's journalism Af rica.0al
has advanced tremendously in the last two
decades. The proliferation of media channels leyword!
and unprecedented competition for audiences Uganda; i
has engendered quality. For instance, thanks Masend
to competition, and of course to technologi- Sunday M
cal developments, East Africa's newspaper

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mn "t lr u

d Muite

unlry's politics. they say


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The W gge
mrnge offresh
produce daly.

light years ahead of the eyesore
jester years. Competition also has
Horizons of the subjects that can
in the media.
glitters is not gold. M
journalist and media scholar, is the Group
Sat the Nairobi-based Nation Media Group,
irgest multi-media company.

ded in 1962, the Daily Nation (Kenya) is one
important newspapers in Eastern and central

nedia; journalism; New Vision;
frica; Daily Nation; Nation
oup (NMG); Daily Monitor;
monitor ; KFM; NTV; Els de
ian; Yoweri Museveni

r 7HE wiweo4ocm 1-A" 5tits TF f1dMilk


Case studies

Mariama Khai Fornah*

"From FREETOUW to The HlGUE:

my coverage of Charles Taylor's trial"

T he on-going trial of the former
President of Liberia Charles Taylor
has captured the attention of
almost everyone in Sierra Leone
and Liberia. The trial held by the Special
Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) is based at
the International Criminal Court (ICC) in
The Hague, the Netherlands.The war began
in Sierra Leone in March 1991 when the
Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone
(RUF) launched its first campaign into Eastern
Kailahun (Sierra Leone) from Liberia. Before
the outbreak of war, corruption and misman-
agement in the diamond sector was one of
the main reasons why Sierra Leone became,
according to United Nations' (UN) figures, the
poorest country in the world.
The RUF rebels demonstrated their brutality
by decapitating community leaders and putting
their heads on sticks. They were notorious for

committing atrocities such as raping of women
and girls, amputation of arms and legs of civil-
ians, the enlisting of child combatants and the
burning and looting of houses.
After this decade-long war, Sierra Leone
asked for the world to help them bring to
justice those people who are alleged to bear
the greatest responsibility for crimes that were
The Special Court was created and indicted
Liberia's former President Charles Taylor on
eleven counts of crimes against humanity, war
crimes, and serious violations of international
humanitarian law. He is facing trial for aiding
and abating the Revolutionary United Front
(RUF) by giving them support in terms of
arms and ammunition during the long decade
war in Sierra Leone. In April 2006, Charles
Taylor was arrested and his trial began in 2007
in The Hague.

As a Sierra Leonean journalist, it's my job to
cover the trial each day, and keep audiences in
West Africa informed about what's happening
in the court room.
I work with a journalist from Liberia, and
we are the only journalists in the world who
are reporting on the trial from the court room
and producing daily stories for audiences in
both Liberia and Sierra Leone. This puts a lot
of responsibility and pressure on us, but for
me, it's this sense of responsibility which has
helped me to grow and develop professionally,
and become better at what I do.
This is the first time I have left Africa to live
and work in Europe. The Netherlands is a very
interesting country, where people really take
pride in their homes and environment, which is
so clean and organised. For now my next chal-
lenge will be getting through a cold winter as
I'm used to hot December months back home!

I cover the court proceedings from Monday to
Friday. Each morning, I spend some time in
the courtroom to observe proceedings, before
leaving the actual court room to watch the
hearing from the Press Office. It's from here
that I record the audio from the court and turn
the day's events into a news bulletin ready for
radio stations across Sierra Leone to broadcast
later that day.
Many of the witnesses speak Krio which is the
local language spoken widely in Sierra Leone.
Therefore, I record the proceedings both in
English and Krio. This helps to ensure that
listeners who don't understand English will
still understand what is happening throughout
the trial.
What's most challenging is selecting an angle
each day to write about. The court is in session
from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm most days, and I have
to turn several hours of witness testimony, and
other court room discussions, into just five
minutes' worth of information for a news bul-
letin in Africa.
My work is all produced digitally, so I use a
computer software package to edit the audio
material from the court room and email the final
version to more than 15 radio stations in Sierra
Leone, including radio stations like UN Radio,
which broadcast across the entire country.
Many of the radio stations also broadcast local
programmes, which cover other aspects of the
trial and transitional justice issues affecting
their own community. The interviews are also
used for their magazine programmes, which
provide an opportunity for the listeners to take
part in the programme either by phoning or
sending in text messages. Radio stations that
are based in the provinces read the scripts
of my reports in many local languages like
Mende and Temne, so that everyone can be
informed. When there is also a striking issue
in the court, some radio stations will interview
me to find out more about what is going on.
And it's not just radio stations that are using
the material. Newspapers across Sierra Leone
and Liberia also publish what I've produced.
My relationship with the members of the
Bench and the Bar is very cordial. I have never
had the opportunity to interview the Judges,
but interviewed both heads of the Defence and
the Prosecution.
1 have conducted a series of interviews with
the Lead Defence Lawyer for Charles Taylor,
Courtney Griffiths QC and most of the inter-
views have been published in all of the news-
papers back home as well as in Liberia.
I don't have any direct contact with the wit-
nesses as journalists covering the trial are not
permitted to conduct their own interviews
with them that's the job of the prosecution


and defence teams. The only way I can source
information from the witnesses is by recording
what they testify in court and then using that
audio in my reports.
At the end of a long day, I find it really encour-
aging to hear from friends, family and former
colleagues back home, telling me that they
are hearing my reports and keeping up to date
with the trial. Many of them have said that the
reports have helped them to better understand
what caused the war and the events that took
place during the war. This is really important
to me because it demonstrates that people are
really following the trial and are becoming
more interested in seeing justice take place. M

* Sierra Leonan Producer/Reporter actually based in The

Charles Taylor; Sierra Leone; Liberia;
war crimes; trial; Special Court for
Sierra Leone; International Criminal
Court (ICC); The Hague; Freetown;
Revolutionary United Front of Sierra
Leone (RUF).

0 tremendous experience

Covering the trial in a balanced, accurate and objective manner is how I've been trained
by the BBC Woirid Service Tirust, who employs me. With funding from the UK
Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the BBC is able to facilitate this project
and under the Project Management of Claire Ziwa, ensure that listeners in West Africa
understand the trial. This opportunity, until the end of December 2008, has also given
me lots of training as a journalist. My skills have improved and 1 know that those skills will
last for my whole career, way beyond the trial itself.
One thing that 1 usually say to myself is that 1 am not the Judges nor, the Prosecutor, nor
the Defence Lawyers. 1 am only serving as a mediator between the people of Sierra Leone
and Liberia and happenings in the court. The reason why 1 am very conscious of the way
in which 1 file my reports is to avoid passing judgement on the accused Former President
of Liberia Charles Taylor because it's the court's job to decide if he is innocent or guilty
and not mine.
My experience in covering the trial in The Hague cannot be over emphasised. In fact,
it has really changed my life. It has helped to improve my journalistic skills greatly and
provided me with a great source of employment and livelihood. It has also helped me to
contribute to the development of my country by training other journalists and providing
coverage of Charles Taylor's trial from The Hague.

Case studies

Chris Gollop


in the CHRIBBERf

.ea..e e.. e e ee e .. 0f e e ee'ee e.

a -.ea... e e e ee e e a e e eei

Nation, recently interviewed the
now retired Harold Hoyte on the
state of the media in the Caribbean.

Let us begin with a look at the ..n ild of the
newspaper industry in the English-speaking
Caribbean over the past three to four decades.
What role if any would you say the industry has
played in ensuring there continues to be flour-
ishing democracies across the region?

I think we have to divide the English-speaking
Caribbean into two sectors. There is the more
established media in the quote/unquote larger
islands like Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and
Barbados that have a long history ofjournalism
and then there are the spectra of journalism in
the smaller islands like St Vincent, St Lucia, St
Kitts etc. In the larger countries I think we have
seen a maturing of journalism in terms of its
ability to recognize its role vis--vis develop-
ment of the country and the balance between
providing critical support for the Government
and recognizing the traditional role of being
the voice of the ordinary man on the street and
to highlight the problems facing the country. I
think we've matured in that sense.
In the case of the smaller islands what we've
seen is a tremendous increase in the number of
mainly weekly newspapers with some of them
having now acquired their own printing presses,

which give them a sense of independence. I
think that these newspapers are going to play a
significant role in the development of democra-
cies in the Eastern Caribbean in particular in
years to core since they can now immediately
put issues on the front burner and governments
will be able to dialogue with people a lot more,
which in my view will help to strengthen
democracies of the Eastern Caribbean.
So I think that over the last three or four dec-
ades we've seen tremendous growth that will
certainly enhance the democracies; and will
provide both government and people with a
platform for the exchange of news so I'm very

When the Internet burst onto the scene there
were concerns among newspaper editors world-
wide that this would have a serious impact
on the viability of the newspaper industry. In
the Caribbean however, the industry continues
to flourish. However, do you think that with
wider access to the Internet, that we may yet
see a decline in the industry, particularly now
that blogging has become so popular in recent

I don't think the newspaper industry should
feel threatened once it responds in the right
way. In many respects editors have to find ways
to ensure that newspapers remain an essential
commodity. The challenge is to make sure that

the product that we produce responds to the
immediacy of every issue, every day and no
longer accepts the traditional attitude that we
are here mainly to report the events of the day.
We have to refashion the newspaper. The prob-
lem is the reluctance on the part of the managers
and the leaders of newspapers to make that bold
decision and refashion and reshape. You would
need to throw out the entire concept of how a
paper is formulated today and ask yourself: "Is
this thing that I'm producing relevant to the key
consumers of today and if it isn't how can I
change it?" Not only the format, not only what's
presented but also the way it is presented. For
example, traditionally the front page carries
the most important news item of the day, but
invariably by the time the readers go to sleep the


Case studies

night before he or she knows what that news is.
So what we need to do is to awaken people the
next morning with the answer to the issue. This
means that when they are sleeping we have to
be finding the answers. And I think any news-
paper that therefore seeks to use the concept of
blogging, the concept of getting myriad views
fed into the system will survive, because people
are accustomed to touching, handling and feel-
ing a product and I don't think the screen has
replaced that. So that the product which they
want to hold is still the newspaper but when
they open it, it must speak to what they want,
it must answer their questions; it must tell them
what others are saying about it. We still believe
the foreign page must carry a litany of things
that happened in the world yesterday. In my
view that is pass. What we have to be dealing
with is how are they impacting on us? So I think
we have to throw out the old and bring in the
new. But if newspaper leaders don't do that, I
expect that there is going to be demolition in the
readership and the strength and the relevance of
the newspaper.

We have observed a trend by media moguls
worldwide to consolidate their interest lh,. ,, lI
mergers or buy-outs of competitors. Now, more
recently in the Caribbean we have seen the
merger of major newspapers and radio and
television stations all coming under the single
umbrella of the One Caribbean Media (OCM).
Do you think this is good for the industry as a
whole? Do you think that in the long-term it
could see the demise of those newspapers that
are notpart o l,.- i 1, .,

I think that it is good for the region first of all.
Why? I'm satisfied that with the new economic
order, established by WTO, where all kinds of
borders have been moved and where business
access doesn't suffer from the restrictions of
the past, that it was quite possible that we could
return to the old system where big conglomer-
ates in cosmopolitan countries could come into
these parts and buy out the newspapers. The
wish of OCM was to provide a buffer against
that and to create our own strength, so that we
could not be picked off one after another, after
another. So that anybody who seeks to come
to the Caribbean and seeks to buy the leading
newspapers in Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica
or wherever, will find that they have to buy all
of them and not pick off one so it strengthens
us. It also puts us in a position where we can
go to other parts of the world which ulti-
mately I believe OCM will do. And become the
adventurer who will go out there and perhaps
acquire in the northern Caribbean, maybe in
The Bahamas or Bermuda and become a force


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like any other media force in Australia, New
Zealand or Britain or the United States so that
we would compete as equals. We as Caribbean
media will be equal to them anywhere in the
world and that is what we want to be able to do.
So that having secured the Caribbean we don't
return to a situation where others dictate to us
what should go into the newspaper. In terms of
smaller papers yes they will be exposed and it
is quite possible that they can be swallowed up.
But what may eventually happen is, as has hap-
pened in other countries, is that another group
will emerge that may perhaps bring together

NI, mMnrflfIClVP

another cluster of newspapers and radio and
television stations and so on. M
For the full version of this interview, see 'The Courier's
website: www.acp-eucourier.info

A historic front page: of the well-known Jamaican daily
newspaper, The Daily Gleaner', dedicated to Bob Marley
on 23 May 1981 after the funeral of the reggae legend.
SThe Daily Gleaner

Media; Caribbean; Commonwealth Press
Union; Chris Gollop; Harold Hoyte.

SDebbie Singh*

Major reform is needed if
media systems in the Pacific
t w are to flourish according
to Tongan publisher, Kalafi
Moala. What are the
bottlenecks to the media's
Contribution to the region's


in the Pacific Islands

here is an inevitable bias
in news coverage because
major media operations in
H the region have been gov-
ernment-owned or controlled leading island
journalists to sometimes play servant to corrupt
policies developed without public participa-
tion", says Moala. He adds that media business
and commercial interests have usurped the tra-
ditional role of information. "Globalisation has
impacted on media to such an extent that less
is being done to make media appropriate for
indigenous and local socio-cultural contexts.
Instead, the social-cultural contexts are being
progressively adapted to fit the 'one shoe' of a
globalised media", Moala says.
Journalism educator, David Robie, of the
Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
says that developmentjournalism has a critical
role to play in the future of the South Pacific
region and a new generation of educated jour-
nalists have a responsibility to their people.
"Pacific journalists now have a greater task
than ever in encouraging democratisation of
the region and (providing) informed insights
into development issues facing island states.
Journalists need to be part of the solution, rath-
er than being part of the problem", he says.

Indeed, this also applies to the practice of
the concept of 'peace journalism' by Pacific
Island journalists, particularly those work-
ing in conflict 'hot spots' such as Papua
New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji.
Journalists have often been accused of con-
tributing to tension and aggression via their
style of reportage and, using the case of Fiji,
of "giving voices to coup makers and leaders"
through simply handing them microphones
during times of crisis and broadcasting their
messages to the nation in their excitement and
enthusiasm to get what they see as being a
breaking news story.
Journalism lecturer, Evangelia Papoutsaki,
Phd, based at AUT in New Zealand, states
that taking into account Pacific Countries'
distinctiveness, one should ask what purpose
journalism serves in terms of its contribution
to the development of Pacific Island societies.
Observations on Pacific media covering devel-
opment issues in the region, she says, point
in the direction of superficial, urban and elite
based reporting, screened through the eyes of
aid donors/agencies and development organi-
sations. She continues that, "in most cases,
journalists based in capitals get their material
from press conferences and media releases...

and media tend to give little space to the
opinion of those affected and reporters seem
to bypass the wisdom of local communities in
terms of how sustainable development can be
achieved from within". Papoutsaki argues that
the root cause of this is the dominance of west-
ern values and journalistic principles, a lack of
local knowledge and the desire to search for
and give such knowledge a voice.
"Very rarely do we see in-depth development
reporting based on the principles of develop-
mentjournalism which seeks the voice of local
communities and promotes knowledge and
solutions to development issues", she says.
"Learning how to do development research
is a way of addressing the gap in reporting
effectively on development issues. The jour-
nalist needs to become the researcher to better
understand reports based on research by inter-
national consultants and agencies and better
understand their communities by working for
them and with them too." M
* Fiji-based jouralist.

Pacific Islands; media; journalism; Kalafi
Moala; David Robie; Auckland University
of Technology (UNITEC); Evangelia



for millions of listeners

Information: playing a role in fostering peace and civil society

is emerging from a terrible war:
200,000 killed, two million dis-
placed people, thousands of peo-
ple who had their arms hacked off as an intimi-
dation gesture: is it possible to express one's
opinion with a mere free and democratic ballot
after emerging from such appalling violence?
A few months ago the women in these photos
lived in Kabala, a town not far from the border
with Guinea. Kabala was the theatre of 17 bat-
tles during the 10-year conflict. Two of these
women are running in the municipal elec-
tions. They are being interviewed by Millicent
Massaquoi, a journalist with Fondation
Hirondelle, an institution that banked on the
pacifying and civil society-building potential
of information.


This report was broadcast in a programme
produced jointly by Fondation Hirondelle
and Fourah Bay College, in Freetown (Sierra
Leone), the oldest university in West Africa.
An original idea and a resounding success: six
hours of news bulletins, political debates and
programmes on society's issues broadcast live
by the university's radio station and also by
the UN radio and a dozen community partner
For Fondation Hirondelle it includes a key
element: accurate, credible, independent infor-
mation meeting the huge needs of this popula-
tion to see an end to lies, propaganda, rumours
and manipulation. An information that encour-
ages a political debate, that forces untouchable
leaders to come down from their pedestal, that
makes them answerable to simple citizens of

their decisions, management and, frequently,
of their abuse of power.
Also, debates on society's problems so as to
hand over the right to speak to ordinary men
and women, to let them take part in the public
dialogue, to allow women to demand peace to
enable them to take care of their children, to
let the young say they're longing for a future
free of poverty. And also to expose both minor
violations and daily scandals such as power
shortages in operating blocks owing to the
authorities' sloppiness, soldiers holding driv-
ers to ransom at roadblocks, or rubbish piling
up in the village centre.
Fondation Hirondelle speaks in the languages
of its listeners, which nowadays is rarely French
or English only. In neighboring Liberia,
STAR Radio broadcasts in 16 languages; in the

Case studies

Central African Republic, another Fondation
Hirondelle station, Radio Ndeke Luka, speaks
Sango. In the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC), the 20 or so million listeners
to Radio Okapi are used to listening to its
programmes in Swahili, Kikongo, Tshiluba
and Lingala, and also obviously in French.
Radio Okapi is a nationwide radio network
jointly managed with the UN Peace-Keeping
Department, like Radio Miraya, in Sudan, a
station that is also popular and has the largest
Fondation Hirondelle set up public Radio
Television East Timor, it also managed jointly
with the UN Blue Sky Radio in Kosovo and
helped ensure media coverage of the national
elections in Nepal. Funded by governments,
and in particular by the European Union for
many of its projects such as the one in Sierra
Leone, Fondation Hirondelle is an organisa-
tion of journalists which has been running
radio stations, setting up media outlets, as well
as producing and broadcasting programmes
since 1995.
Its staff come overwhelmingly from the coun-
tries where it is active. It is on a daily basis,
through reports, the choice of topics, the
editing of news, difficult interviews, constant
questioning that a culture of independent and
meticulous journalism is being forged in each
and every one of these radio stations. It is a
continuous school, a permanent training for a



job that gives both men and women the oppor-
tunity to take on and assume responsibilities.
Could that be unfair competition for local
media? Experience shows this is just the oppo-
site. There' s often concern that the Fondation' s
radio station will close, thus removing the pro-
tection and model it represents and that allows
other media to operate genuinely as they wish.
Fondation Hirondelle radios have some 50
partner stations.
The Fondation Hirondelle media may be
owned by the donors or by the Fondation itself
when it manages them alone, or by the United
Nations when they are jointly managed with
the UN. However, ultimately they are owned
by those for whom they were set up: the listen-
ers. In Isiro, a town in the DRC, a rumour that
Radio Okapi would close down its local trans-
mitter started spreading in 2005. The town's
students gathered and the slogan that could be
heard during a large protest demonstration was
the one we could only dream of: "Radio Okapi
belongs to us, not to you!" M

* Swiss joumalist based in Geneva.
For info: www.hirondelle.org

Radio; Press agency; Fondation Hirondelle;
NGO; Sierra Leone; Fourah Bay College;
Liberia; Timor Leste; DRC; Kosovo;
United Nations.

justice through

the Press

Foundation Hirondelle is managing the
Hirondelle news agency in Arusha,
Tanzania. The agency covers the
judicial proceedings concerning the
Rwandan genocide, in particular the
trials at the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda, but also those at
the gacaca (traditional) courts and at
Rwanda's tribunals. Thanks to support
from the European Union, Norway and
Belgium, it is the only news agency
that bas been covering these proceed-
ings in four languages on a daily basis
and without any interruption from day
one. It is thus contributing to uphold
justice and fight against impunity.


1 fl

Case studies

Marie-Martine Buckens

The key role of the SITIRICIL PRESS

in the remoual of the sacred aura

surrounding power in ffrica

The Lynx in Guinea, the Cafard Libr in Senegal, the Journal du Jeudi in Burkina
Faso, as well as the Gri-Gri International, a "refugee" in France, have ail been
subject to censorship to various degrees. Satire attracts censorship in countries where
democracy is barely established. The sociologist Souleymane Bah looks at this issue in
his thesis on the satirical press in French-speaking Africa*.

small matter. This is something Michel
Denouncing the abuse of power is no
Ongoundou, publication manager at the Le Dromadaire
Gabon weekly satirical magazine La Griffe, DU -
knows only too well. He is prohibited from working as -r* '-.~ .' -
ajournalist in his country, and his publication was with- .
drawn in February 2001. Exiled in France, together with
other journalists he has created Le Gri-Gri International, *
which is now celebrating its sixth anniversary. In
Guinea, Le Lynx an independent weekly satirical maga- 1 1N Q %/ZIYM"
zine is also frequently the target of sanctions imposed '**
by President Lansana Cont's entourage. ilu5 P, l
The threat of sanctions does not seem to overly con- M11A
cern Mr Ongoundou, the director of Gri-Gri. He told N'A AQU
Souleymane Bah: "The press is like a drop of water j" 'IUIC
falling on the rocks. It's not like using a pneumatic drill. iiNT
You make gains bit by bit. We can see that the voice of
the ballot box, for example, does not work. So does the
opposition really have to be stopped?" J
His optimism encourages the sociologist, also a column-
ist of the Guinean Lynx for several years, but also shows
that there is still a long way to go. He said: "Seen, on the / -
one hand, as public entertainers whose words are without
great consequence, and, on the other, as an alternative
to the traditional media with its highbrow content, the r
African satirical press today plays an important role in
removing the sacred aura surrounding power in Africa.
But the question is whether its standing as a sacrosanct
force, and in particular as one of political legitimisation,
contributes to undermining its own efforts to clean up .
public affairs on the continent. As the popular Guinean
saying goes, we end up like a groundnut collector whose '
work is done going backwards." M
* 'Altrit, hybridit, organinalit. La press satirique en Afrique franco-
phone,' Souleymane Bah published by L'Harmattan Founded in August 1991, le Journal du Jeudi, popularly known as JJ', is considered by the newspaper
'Courrier international' as "probably one of the best satirical newspapers which have appeared on the
stands since the 1990s in francophone Africa". Pictured here is a cover sketched by Damien Glez. The
Keywords cover pictured here celebrates the newspaper's 17 years of existence. Relations between the politicians
Satirical press; Souleymane Bak of Burkina Faso and the newspaper are depicted with an air of irony. A curiosity: Hamidou Zoetaba
collaborates with the 'JJ'. ourtesv ofthe Journal du Jeudi


Young people



coach for child journalists

She was the darling of the Ougadougou Media and Development Forum: cool, precise
and instructive in her message, displaying a combativeness and firmness, but not
without a certain elegance. Aminatou Sar is the regional coordinator (West Africa) of
the 'Media for children' project launched by PLAN, the international NGO dedicated
to defending the rights of children.

ence of the group of adolescents
she was accompanying brought a
breath of fresh air to this rather
austere meeting. More than that, as the media
professionals spoke with them, they real-
ised that they were dealing with genuine
colleagues, knowledgeable and direct. They
certainly weren't cheerleaders or boy scouts
and most definitely not there for decoration.
Indeed, Aminatou Sar was quickly able to
leave them to their own devices, certain of
their ability to manage their own discussions.
Later, we saw Commissioner Louis Michel
engage them in a lengthy conversation and
invite some of them to visit Brussels.
Aminatou Sar seems to be more of a coach
rather than just a friendly organiser. She is
convinced of one thing: it is vital for young

people to join and progress in the media if
their rights are to be respected in a world
where communication is increasingly impor-
tant. And when it comes to a critique of how
the press operates today, lessons can certainly
be learned by paying heed to the views of
children. In an interview with The Courier,
Aminatou Sar was highly critical of what
she sees as collusion between the govern-
ment and the press in her region and her own
country, Senegal. During the interview, she
laid bare the various pieces of the mechanism
to illustrate how this collusion operates. So,
while praising the work of community media,
especially radio, she condemned the attitudes
of a few small would-be press barons often
non-journalists themselves, who pay shameful
wages to their staff.
The 'Media for children' project started up in
Senegal over a decade ago and is today up and
running in a dozen countries in the sub-region.
Aminatou considers that "it is a pity that it is
an NGO that is doing this work. One could
have imagined a local radio doing it." In 2008,
almost 4,500 young people in the region par-
ticipated in programmes on around 450 radio
stations. She sees an initial result of involving
children in the media as bringing a change in
relations between parents and children, the
former placing more trust in the latter who in
turn acquire more self-confidence when they
return to school.
Due often to a lack of professionalism (just

30-40 per cent of journalists have received
proper training), low wages (on average less
than $100 a month) or a shortage of informa-
tion resources (just 5 per cent of professionals
have a computer) in the region, children's
rights are regularly violated in the media -
according to a recent study cited by the PLAN
representative at the conference. One example
of this violation of rights is the stating of the
name of the child victim in a case of sexual
Children who are present in the media often
create a situation where those who invite
them have to acquire the intellectual tools
needed to do a better job. PLAN has set up a
practical training programme that introduces
children to the basics of the journalist's work
as well as learning how to defend their rights
as children and make those they are involved
with media, politicians or others more
aware of the urgency of the issue. They also
learn to prepare items on a range of issues
- female circumcision, forced marriage, the
right to play and so on for all kinds of media
and submit their ideas to them. These are not
confined to the mass media as they also use
other outlets such as the production of musical
discs and other supporting materials. H.G. M

Hegel Goutier; Aminatou Sar; PLAN; child


Young people

Sandra Federici


information and entertainment

T he cover of Plante Jeunes looks
like that of any other European
magazine for young people, featur-
ing pictures of stars of sport and
pop and the titles of the articles inside. But this
magazine's aim is defined by a project to pro-
mote reading and citizenship to allow young
Africans (aged 15 to 25) "to access the outside
world, to obtain information in order to suc-
ceed, to develop, express themselves and com-
municate." Plante Jeunes aims to attract the
interest of young Africans by using language
that is humorous and current. Articles are short,
straightforward, well laid out and accompanied
by various explanatory boxes and photographs.
The magazine is produced by a team of African
staff based in Paris and numerous African
countries. There is also Plante Enfants for
smaller children. Distributed in more than 25
French-speaking countries in Africa, the Indian
Ocean and the Caribbean, these titles reach
more than a million readers. Let's hear from
the editor-in-chief, Eyoum Ngangu.

Plante Jeunes features readers' letters and
runs an Internet forum. Tell us about the
desires, wishes and dreams of young Africans?

It's difficult to give a direct answer to that
question because young people have so many
and such varied dreams, desires and wishes.
A recurrent theme in the mail we receive are
calls by the young to build a strong Africa
which refuses to accept a fate of poverty.
Other letters express the almost existential -
in the broader sense fears of young people
about guidance on education, friendship, love,
sexuality, self-confidence and fears about the
future etc. And we also receive lots of pieces
of literature love letters, poems and songs.
Like young people in other parts of the world,
they worry about their immediate prospects


(school, work) and an often uncertain future
(peace, the environment etc.). One thing we
have noticed is that methods of communica-
tion have changed. We used to receive lots of
our mail by post. Today, most of the letters
come in by e-mail. You also see the impact
of technological changes on young people
who tend to express themselves more through
the language of texting, which unfortunately
filters through into their letters.

And how is Plante Enfants the little brother of
Plante Jeunes launched in 1998 performing?

Plante Enfant has caught up with Plante
Jeunes in terms of circulation. And the number
of subscribers is growing. It is used as a teach-
ing aid by teachers in schools and it has entered
into partnership with organizations such as
Unicef, Plan International, the World Health
Organisation and the International Labour
Organisation to run campaigns on issues like
road safety, child labour and the recording of
births etc. The main difference between the two
titles is that parents buy Plante Enfants, while
young people buy Plante Jeunes themselves.

What types of young people are you aiming
at? Is it young people who love western cul-
ture, like football and music?

Thanks to digital technology, young African
people receive exactly the same images as
young people in the rest of the world. They
are connected directly to cable and satellite
stations that show clips of American hip-
hop throughout the day. They watch football
matches from all the big stadiums in Europe
and Latin America. However, while they have
access to the world, they also keep their feet
on the ground. They love the American stars
as well as actors in small-budget sitcoms who

deal with social issues. They adore coup-
dcal, a type of music performed by young
Ivorians based on Congolese rhythms. Plante
Jeunes has to cover this great range of global
and local trends. This is why our magazine
may seem like a patchwork of information on
American stars, big African names in football
and music, social issues, which for example
deal with addiction to video games, and cur-
rent affairs, such as the Chinese presence
in Africa or the American elections. Not to
mention careers, science, fashion, health, in
particular AIDS, humour through sketches and
comic strips, and travel. M

Plante Jeunes; Plante Enfants; young
Africans; Africa; Eyoum Ngangu.


Mike jensen*

Trends in the



in f RICHI

M ost countries in Africa have lagged behind in their
progress towards an Information Society, large-
ly because of their low-income levels and lack of
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
infrastructure. As a result the majority of rural Africans today still do
not have access to basic telephony, let alone to Internet by December
2007, only 5 per cent of the African population had an Internet con-
nection and broadband penetration was below 1 per cent. Nevertheless
there have been some significant improvements recently which suggest
that the continent is now making significant progress tojoin the global
networked economy.
Mobile telephony is now the primary mode of ICT access in Africa,
where mobile phones outnumber fixed lines by almost ten to one.
Mobile growth rates are the highest in the world, led by countries with
more recent market entrants, more competitive pricing and improving
While ICT access on the continent is generally very low, the wide vari-
ation in income levels, population size and telecommunication infra-
structure policies has made uneven levels of uptake. For example, over
75 per cent of fixed lines are found in just 6 of the 53 African nations.
Similarly, four out of the 53 countries in Africa account for almost 60
per cent of Internet users in the region, and only 22 of the 53 countries
have broadband. Countries with Internet populations over of over 1 mil-
lion people are located in (in order of size): Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt,
South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, Algeria, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
One of the major reasons for the low levels of ICT access on the con-
tinent has been the large rural populations and the limited terrestrial
telecommunication infrastructure (satellite links are expensive and rela-
tively slow). The period leading up to the 'dot-com bubble' in 2000 saw
billions of dollars of investment in new fibre-optic cable in developed
countries, while Africa was left out of this trend due to their smaller
markets. Since then demand has grown and there is a major increase
in the number of fibre-optic projects. A recent African survey found

the largest build-up of long-distance telecommunication infrastructure
recorded to date. By the end of 2007, over $lbn in contracts had been
issued for about 30 000 km of optic fibre in 17 countries, with loans
from China Exim Bank for about two-thirds of the value.
At an international level, fibre optic infrastructure is critical to bringing
in sufficient bandwidth for a networked economy, and various African
agencies have been working to help bring this about. Among the first
major international projects to get off the ground was the East African
Submarine Cable System (EASSy) which aims to establish a fibre
backbone along the world's largest unconnected coast, running between
South Africa and the Sudan, with six landing points along the way. In
addition, other similar competing private projects have emerged, such
as SEACOM, LION and FLAG, and the West African Cable System
* Mike Jensen is an independent consultant with experience in more than 30 countries in
Africa assisting in the establishment of information and communications systems over the
last 15 years.

Internet; Africa; Information and Communication Technology (ICT);
mobile; East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy); fibre-optic.


flfrica I la5iii en I PcIf
and Euopean nion cntrie

Antigua and i iL.ii i- ,l ii I Barbados Belize Cuba Dominica Dominican
F.-1.ii L. i. i.i-,, i .1 i,, i, H r i i miaica Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint
, .' 11'.- .. -. i,,,,,, Trinidad and Tobago


i i ''r




." ,i- iil . iii, j rn l I, i, ,i i l,,,,,,- i: h- i- li ,l11 ., '1 i ,I r, i , il. 'i l" ii,- ,ir ,
i.. ... 1,i .. .. .,I d -U .. ,,1 ., 1 ,, ,, ,, .- 1..
, I ,.. |: _-,.1111
:.- .- 1,.- ,.- _ .... : . :.., "- :,1.1 .1, -. T ,I ,:.,..ii. T.
_.. ~ ,,, ,- ,,' ,.,, :' ,,j-- -; l, ./ _

Cook Islands Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru Niue
Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Timor Leste Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu


I r

..Nether s P d P l


Austria 'i nni. ~ lii'n , /prL I-,-, I" h i _.r,,,,, 1:,,,1 i ,II France
Gerran' *i-,:- Ir-i.''' i i iii i _i ,-l d,,ii Miii valta
Netherlands Poland Portugal :',,,,,,,,, i ',, -,-, United

4 .
1 ";

The lists of countries published by The Courier do not prejudice the status of these countries and territories now or in the future. The Courier uses maps from a variety of sources.
Their use does not implv recognition of anv particular boundaries nor prejudice the status of anv state or territory.

-;r F