African journalism cultures: the struggle for free expression against neo-patrimonial governance

White, R. A. and Mabweazara, H. M. (2018) African journalism cultures: the struggle for free expression against neo-patrimonial governance. In: Mabweazara, H. M. (ed.) Newsmaking Cultures in Africa: Normative Trends in the Dynamics of Socio-Political and Economic Struggles. Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp. 53-76. ISBN 9781137541086 (doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-54109-3_3)

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Since colonial times, journalists in Africa have developed a relatively common set of values underpinned by Western ideas on presenting news (in a detached, transparent and supposedly objective manner) that enables citizens to exercise their citizenship and democratic rights. This commitment to objective factual news inevitably ignites a constant clash with entrenched personalistic and neo-patrimonial governance systems that, on the surface, pretend to protect citizens’ constitutional and democratic rights but, in reality, seek to strengthen the concentration of political power and economic wealth in the hands of the ruling elite. Thus, in the context of authoritarian pressures and poverty, journalists in Africa are often personally conflicted and inconsistent in terms of their journalistic commitments. However, sections of the profession, especially the privately owned press, have developed ways to unmask the strategies of the political elites in efforts directed towards safeguarding democratic rights. In the light of this context, this chapter analyses a range of typical practices that these critical journalists use to expose the falsity of the democratic pretentions of the ‘big man’ rule by introducing alternative discourses of human rights, freedom of information, civil society, the rule of law and public participation in national decisions.

Item Type:Book Sections
Additional Information:eISBN: 9781137541093.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mabweazara, Dr Hayes
Authors: White, R. A., and Mabweazara, H. M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
Published Online:06 June 2018
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