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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Knowledge and ideas in a context of power: rethinking media policy and reform in Southern Africa
Author:Chiumbu, SarahISNI
Periodical:Africanus (ISSN 0304-615X)
Geographic term:Southern Africa
Subjects:media policy
aid agencies
Abstract:This paper re-examines media policy reforms in southern Africa (SA) by drawing on a radical theoretical frame to: 1. examine the role of donors and private think-tanks; 2. analyse the production of policy ideas and their ties to donor interests; and 3. understand how policy actors and NGOs in the South act as 'translation centres' for dominant discourses on media reforms. The 'third wave' of democratization (1990-1995) was accompanied by economic liberalization and rising concerns for press freedom and media diversity. This led to the emergence of a neo-liberal media reform agenda as witnessed by the UNESCO-funded 1991 'Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic Press', the 'African Charter on Broadcasting', the 'Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression' and, in 2011, the 'African Platform on Access to Information' (APAI) Declaration. The article first reviews two earlier theoretical approaches: the decolonial and postcolonial. These approaches not only critique the discourses of media and democracy, but also problematize technical assistance practices promoted by donor and development agencies. It is concluded that the media and democracy agenda is a construction emerging out of historical encounters (e.g. colonialism) and grounded in unequal power relations. Alternative ways of decolonizing media reform in SA include: 1. constructing new media reform policy narratives based on needs and realities of southern Africa; 2. strengthening think tanks in SA to challenge the Western intellectual hegemony; and 3. creating new discursive spaces for media reform debates to sideline NGOs, donors and experts. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]