The 2007 elections in Kenya and their aftermath are emerging as a popular case study for those interested in how new media technologies might shape journalistic practices in Africa. The opportunities offered by cellphone messaging and blogging to circumvent the official ban on news broadcasts when violence flared up after the flawed (some would say ‘stolen’) election has been seen by some as an exciting development. The other side of the coin is that text messages were also used to spread incitement, causing some to draw comparisons with the infamous Radio Milles Collines in the Rwandan genocide. A recent report on the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists quotes Catherine Gicheru, editor of the daily Nairobi Star “New information technology is a mixed bag of blessings”. Also see the BBC World Service Trust’s comprehensive policy briefing here.
It’s an interesting debate.