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Message-ID: <199503132103.QAA25277@atlanta.american.edu>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 14:48:53 EST
Sender: Internationally-Oriented Computer-Assisted Reporting List <INTCAR-L@LISTSERV.AMERICAN.EDU>
Subject: Broadcasting in Africa rpt from IFEX
To: Multiple recipients of list INTCAR-L <INTCAR-L@LISTSERV.AMERICAN.EDU>

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
International Freedom of Expression eXchange Clearing House

African broadcasting -- tapping the democratic potential; ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship to release report

Press release from IFEX, 10 March 1995

On 27 March 1995, ARTICLE 19 and Index on Censorship publish "Who Rules the Airwaves?: Broadcasting in Africa". As African politics is transformed by a spate of multi-party elections, the report examines the role of broadcasting during and after the process of political transition.

ARTICLE 19's Executive Director, Frances D'Souza, comments: "The power of radio is immense. Governments struggle to retain control of that power. For real democracy to take root in Africa, government stations must be transformed into editorially independent, public service broadcasters."

The report discusses broadcasting operations in nine African countries, and concludes that private broadcasting, while necessary and valuable, cannot meet the information needs of the whole population. An informed public is crucial to participatory democracy.

The report's recommendations for measures to protect and promote broadcasting freedom should set the terms for debate on this key topic for years to come. The report calls for:

  • Statutory guarantees of editorial independence.
  • Safeguards to prevent government interference with broadcasting budgets.
  • The non-discriminatory allocation of broadcast licences.
  • Measures to limit media concentration.
  • Fair access of all political parties to the broadcast media during elections.
  • Independent mechanisms to respond to complaints about broadcasting.

Within this framework, the report presents lively anecdotes and much other information about the current state of broadcasting in Africa. According to ARTICLE 19, this is the latest news about the news: a snapshot of the politics, the issues and the finances which control broadcasting in Africa. "Who Rules the Airwaves?" is an indispensable starting point for everyone concerned about the future of mass communication in Africa.

For further information, please contact: Catherine Drucker, Campaigns Co-ordinator for ARTICLE 19 at tel: +44 171 713 1357, fax: +44 171 713 1356, or e-mail: article19@gn.apc.org.

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