Published on January 14, 2008
Development journalism: Development journalism JMS3 JDD 2006 Development journalism in Africa: Development journalism in Africa Domatob and Hall Development journalism – premise that journalists should recognise: Reality of underdevelopment; Development as a valid goal. Play a journalistic role in development. Two foci: Counteracting the dependency relationship of colonialism; Promoting supercession of the traditional, tribal-based societies by institution of the new nation state. Slide3: Expectations of development journalism: Pan-Africanism – media as a revolutionary tool of African liberation from colonialism and imperialism Media as extension of government policies of social, economic and cultural development. Neo-colonial reality of Africa – inequality, dependence Emerging African states need information and help in building their own internal communications – instead they get political propaganda or commercialised entertainment. Slide4: Development journalism means, above all, nation-building: Creation of national consciousness and unity; Encouragement of co-operation and peaceful co-existence between diverse and sometimes hostile communities. African journalists must: Awaken citizens to the new cultural imagery of patriotism, nationhood, inculcate viable degree of ‘we feeling’, cohesion across tribal, racial, regional, religious, and linguistic loyalties; Force them to accept the inescapable destiny of the modern. Slide5: Government intend to use the media to contribute to national development goals, inform citizens of relevant governmental policies, introduce national leaders, foster political stability, promote national integration and educate. Journalism as one of the mobilising agents in underdeveloped societies. But, “co-operation” between government and media becomes a permanent (stifling) embrace. Development journalism soon denounced by African journalists who saw the corruptions of objective and professional journalism which emerged in its name. Slide6: 1950s/60s: Economists and communication theorists argued that imported radio, TV, and foreign owned press were all part of a modernisation process – transfer of capital goods, technologies Diffusion of knowledge, innovations and guidance in improving agriculture supposed to diffuse from mass media through the interpersonal channels of society to villagers and farmers Key problem of state control – efficient implementation of developmental journalism calls for a highly controlled government press, Slide7: African nations deny press freedom, bar free elections, individual rights and an independent judiciary Justified on the grounds that the machinery of government is so frail that the constant winds of change generated by a free press would make political and social integration impossible. Slow rate of economic growth does not lend itself to political contentment. Government control rationalised… Galtung: A new paradigm: Galtung: A new paradigm Johan Galtung: The Media Worldwide: Well-being and Development See journalism about development and democracy as “drama”. Concept of exploitation is key (dependency theory)… NOT just “I am poor and you are rich”, but “I am poor because you are rich – you are rich because I am poor” Slide9: Galtung’s critique of the “mainstream”: Surface treatment – no deeper connections. This makes it more palatable but also less dramatic and less honest/ true. Galtung’s critique of the “left”: Underlying text (master narrative) is always the same: imperialism, exploitation and other “leftist” themes. There are seldom people in development journalism, just issues, problems in large aggregates and depersonalised structures. What about subject-verb-object situations? And what of the object-turning-subject (the weak actor standing up against structure, projecting drama and hope)? Development-oriented journalism:: Development-oriented journalism: Is development made concrete, in terms of concrete human beings? Eg. Basic needs approach – need for survival, for “well-being” (food, shelter, health, education), but also for identity and for freedom. Need to turn from objects/victims with “needs and deficits” to subjects/actors creating sustainable livelihoods. Does it convey new paradigm(s) of ‘development’ (eg. sustainable development)? Developmental limits are defined by ecological balance. Slide11: Needs categories: Survival (military power), Well-being (economic power), Identity (cultural power), Participation (political power). Don’t restrict discussion to well-being (economic) only. Humans do not live from bread alone. Different types/ shapes of bread have deep cultural, religious significance. What are people’s inner agendas? “What is the meaning of life? Is life worth living?” Economic growth data not enough. Averages lie. (Upward movement might conceal stagnation for the majority and an improvement for, say, the upper 10%.) Slide12: Focus on relations not just differences (between and within countries). Eg. Why do rich countries call for free trade, but protect their own industries? Framing the problem? (Perhaps the problem is not “poverty”, but how old-style development creates poverty out of sight of the wealthy 20% who consume 70-80% of the world’s resources). Focus on the totality of life situations. (E.g. Using 5 families in a documentary to represent the world. “The programme devoted enough time on a family from each layer to make it possible for the viewer to identify, to understand fully, the drama of that family’s problems and come up with possible solutions.”) Slide13: Report development not in terms of problems but in terms of positive programmes. A “how-to” manual (information, education). Success stories, advocacy by example - optimism. Let the people talk. Media focus too much on popular opinion and not enough on the hoard of popular knowledge (indigenous knowledge systems). Media assume knowledge lies with experts and that input from people can only be pure opinion. Let the story promote participation in finding solutions that are in accordance with sustainable development. What sources are used in the story? Canvas many views – the people who experience the issue, NGOs, state agencies. Slide14: Let people run the media. E.g. Letters, but go further. People could contribute articles, volunteer knowledge, experience and expertise. Let people run society! Let people enjoy true participation and report what happens. Report on what popular movements are doing… or help enrich public life itself (public journalism, community media). A checklist:: A checklist: Does the story challenge power, puffery and extravagant claims, and does it avoid jargon and “government speak”? Is there evidence of robust and thorough and independent investigation? Does the journalist avoid getting drawn into organisational agendas, conflicts, etc? Does the journalism promote rights of citizenship (including global citizenship)?