Media scholars and activists who are still up and doing even as academia is in disarray in much of Africa have another opportunity to beef themselves up. A major symposium on “The Relationship between Journalism and Foreign Aid” is in the making at the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. It is scheduled for February 8th, 2018.
This one-day symposium will bring together academics and practitioners (donors, NGOs, and journalists) with a keen interest on the dynamism of the intersection between journalism, foreign aid, media development assistance, foreign investment in media and how this has affected the development of what is being called a critical and independent media sector in Africa and Latin America.
The grand idea behind the symposium is to continue and conclude a conversation that has been going on regarding observable or perceived creases in the substantial injection of foreign aid directed at disseminating a model of journalism practice and education aligned with the interests of donor nations since the end of the Second World War. It is now considered worthwhile to examine the dynamism of the relationship between aid and journalism and the role of foreign aid/development assistance, along with the impact these processes have had on fostering independent national media sectors, said the announcement.
The convenors have nine definitive question areas which they are not restricting potential paper presenters to but would want them to fix their gaze and these were listed as follows:
- What has been the role of international development assistance in shaping journalistic approaches and practices in Africa/Latin America and what are the consequences?
- What has been the role of development assistance in shaping journalism education in Africa and Latin America?
- To what extent has international development assistance fostered or inhibited independent journalism in Africa/Latin America?
- What are the similarities and differences in the direct and indirect impacts on journalism of development assistance from the US, UK and other donors such as China?
- What are the continuities and discontinuities concerning the impact of development assistance on journalism practice and education in the post-Cold War era?
- What has been the impact of development assistance as compared with other foreign investment on African/Latin American media?
- How has international development assistance either directly or indirectly impacted the development of the media industry in Africa?
- How has international development assistance affecting journalism been perceived by journalists, politicians and the general public in the beneficiary countries?
- What interventions could be developed to counter any negative consequences of these traditions?
A cross-national and multidisciplinary research network project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) under the auspices of the Global Challenges Research Fund, this is the last of three public meetings of the Development Assistance and independent journalism in Africa and Latin America, according to the convenors’ announcement. The first symposium was held at the University of Leeds in the UK in April 2017. The second was an International Association for Media and Communication Research, (IAMCR) preconference held in July 2017 in Cartagena, Columbia.
The convenors have, therefore, thrown the challenge to researchers in the field, inviting them to send relevant research papers and reports on research in progress for presentation at the symposium, with prospects for their publication subsequently. Such potential researchers should send a 300 word abstract by November 1st, 2017 to Gadzekpo and Paterson at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The convenors are calculating that invitations to attend the symposium would be issued by November 15th, 2017. It is not only free of registration fee, a limited number of delegates presenting no paper at the symposium may be accommodated with prior registration. Such potential delegates should also make contacts at the given email for clarification or for further information the convenors’ research programme at ajn.leeds.ac.uk.
The Convenors are listed as follows: Dr. Audrey Gadzekpo, School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana; Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando & Dr. Chris Paterson, School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds; Dr. María Soledad Segura, Facultad de Ciencias de la Comunicación, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba; Professor Herman Wasserman, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Dr. Cosette Castro, Director of the Postgraduate Program in Communication at the Catholic University of Brasilia (UCB).