Friday, March 28, 2008

Africa media - blogging live

Academics and media from around the world gathered at the University of Westminster to examine Africa's media.

I'm here at a conference for Africa Media organised by the Universtity of Westminster. I spoke about Vjism in regions e.g. Egypt, Ghana and South Africa.

Speaking now is an doctoral student from the University of Oregon Janet D Kwami, University of Oregon reflecting on the media and ghana.

later I get to see a fabulous doc. on Nigeria's film industry often referred to as Nollywod made by academic and film maker Jane Thorburn

Nigeria's film industy we're told is an incredibly well oiled industry, but it'a all rather haphazard.

It's got the audience in stitches in some part as the drama's really do ham up their acting. But underlying the hilarious bits are lucid and candid clips from some of Nigeria's top execs talking about the industry

A film cost about 2000 ukp roughly 4000 dollars and shooting can last from 5-30 days. They don't have a distribution system so as one pundit says piracy is a form of distribution, then the actual marketeers place a film on their shelf for short periods - couple of days because of the high turnover of films being made.

The skillset they argue is low, though many now shoot using videocams of one sort or another.

Right back to Janet's talk first.

Janet's taking us through a timeline back starting off at 1992 - a pivotal time for the free press because of a new constitution.

Yet ironically as she notes a criminal libel law, a colonial legacy meant that you could report what you wanted but not criticise the government.

However Janet goes on 2000 was the next pivotal period when the media was seen to play a crucial role in the election and the future government.

2000 is when the current government came to power.

Janet posits a case about how media pluralism is non existent, that a large proportion of the media is formulai - poltical jousting programmes and the likes.

She noted a problem was brown envelope journalism - the expectation when a journalist covers an issue they expected to be compensated.

Further problem areas highlighted by Janet include:

  • funding and sustainabilty.
  • the demise of community media - rural radio, community media is pretty much existent
  • gender and the media - 2004 was the womans manifesto in reaction to what veered on soft porn in some of the newspapers. The ethnographic study showed that woman undertook specific gender beats, while men ran with "big politics".

    Her critical challenges:
    She says a participatory media needs to be built allowing greater media expression
    She wants to encourage citizen journalism - and here she gives an anecdote about filming an event in Ghana when some women approached her, marvelling at her camera and how they could film their own festivals.
    New technologies, funding and professionalism and ethics are her "critical engagement points".
  • 1 comment:

    Cliff said...

    University of Oregon, eh?

    That's a 10 minute drive from my place mate...

    May have to look her up when she gets back.

    Cliff Etzel - Solo Video Journalist