Democratization and Press Freedom in
Africa's "High-Context" Cultures
The collapse of the Soviet-led communist bloc during the late 1980s
and the early 1990s is widely believed to have ushered in a new era
characterized primarily by a weakening of authoritarianism everywhere.1
In Africa, this trend found expression in the form of increasing
pressure for political reform.2 Demands for multi-party elections paid
modest dividends when some countries like Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, and
the Ivory Coast held free and fair elections. But what has this trend
meant for press freedom?
Observers of the African media scene initially voiced optimism
that the transformation in the East-West ideological cleavage would
translate into a relaxation of controls over the media on the
continent. It was argued that because of glasnost and perestroika in
other parts of the world, "Africans have become encouraged to ask for
more open and liberal societies in which human rights will be
respected."3 This, in turn, would give us a press that will "satisfy
the aspirations of the people within the new context of liberal
The assumption was that an open and liberalized political system
would inevitably lead to a free press (in the Western tradition). This
view was promoted partly by proclamations made by some African
newspapers themselves. Ghana's largest newspaper, People's Daily Graphic
, for example, asserted in an editorial that, "People had come to
associate journalists with a fanatic and fundamentalist support for the
government. We have now managed to extricate ourselves from those
entanglements."5 In Senegal, the move toward openness came even sooner
than the revolution in eastern Europe when, in 1988, Sud Hebdo, an
independent weekly, was launched. It was quickly hailed as "a yardstick
for African media and a symbol of hope for the many journalists in
Africa" still struggling with the shackles of official control.6
But the enthusiasm for the evolution of a "watchdog" press in
Africa notwithstanding, the reality in most African countries continues
to point in a different direction. Most experiments with an independent
and "free" press have encountered one form of obstacle or another.
In Senegal, for example, the editors of the independent Sud Hebdo
have admitted that "proclaiming freedom of the press is one thing,
implementing it is another."7 In Zimbabwe, journalists found out the
hard way that although they were "free" under the constitution, they
could be frustrated by "obscure government whims" such as a requirement
to obtain official permission to secure foreign currency to purchase
printing equipment.8 In Cameroon, prominent editor and publisher of Le
Messenger in Douala, Pius Njawe, was threatened with death because "he
and his newspaper did not back the re-election of President Paul Biya
in the multi party election of October 1992."9
Similar experiences have been reported in a number of other
countries including Uganda,10 Kenya,11 Zambia,12 Gabon,13 and Ethiopia.
These examples should serve as a clear indication that political
liberalization (i.e., instituting pluralism where multiple political
parties vie for national leadership) does not necessarily produce, as a
corollary, a free media system that is fully capable of assuming
watchdog duties ala the United States and the United Kingdom.
Neither does this mean that democratically elected African leaders
are just as intolerant of dissent as are despotic and dictatorial ones.
Rather, the answer may lie in Africa's complex cultural and social
structures which are fundamentally different from Western society in
This paper will argue that a Western-style "free" press that plays
an essentially adversarial role vis-a-vis the government, is not very
likely to take root in present-day Africa because of deep-rooted
sociological determinants of conflict resolution, personal and group
relationships, as well as relationships between authority figures and
their subordinates. An adversarial press presupposes the existence of a
legal and political culture steeped in western liberal idealism. This
is a philosophy that emphasizes the merits of individualism--individual
rights, individual efforts, individual accomplishments, and most
importantly, individual thoughts.
In contrast, African social thought and African social
organization structurally and culturally emphasize group identity. Even
Africa's Westernized urban elites are unable to shake loose the bonds
of group affiliations.15
Although press freedom in Africa could be hampered by
economic/financial hardships and outright political repression, it is
important to examine the relevant issues in the broader cultural and
sociological contexts as well.
The sociological determinants of media's role in society
In Areopagitica, John Milton16 sewed the seeds of Western
libertarian thinking. At the core of this social philosophy is the
notion that individual men and women are rational beings who possess
innate abilities to discern truth from falsehoods. There is no need for
authority (government) to censor ideas. Free expression should be
allowed and individuals should be free to seek the truth on their own.
And so "the role of the media is to assist in that search, to help the
individual discover truth"17 (emphasis added).
This focus on the legal and philosophical status of the individual
in society was carried further by the writings and teachings of
thinkers like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Jean Jacques Rousseau.18
But pre-industrial European and North American societies had not
socially evolved fully to "live" these ideas during the 17th century.
Following the Industrial Revolution, however, important sociological
changes helped redefine the structures of group relationships--which,
among other things, facilitated tolerance for ideas that challenged the
Around the turn of this century, the German sociologist,
Ferdinand Tonnies,20 offered an analysis of social organization
in European society that has been used to explain different levels of
democratic freedoms in various Western societies.21 Tonnies proposed a
sociological dichotomy in which societies and/or communities were
either primarily Gemeinschaft or predominately Gesellschaft. In
Gemeinschaft, people led simpler lives but "were bound together by
strong ties of family, tradition, and rigid social roles."22 Because of
these strong bonds, social control powers were vested in societal norms
that defined the boundaries of acceptable thought and behavior.23 Under
those circumstances, external influences (e.g., media) were not as
immediate and as strong as they could be in Gesellschaft--the more
modern and urban society defined by weaker social bonds. Social control
was now exercised more through the use of formal institutions such as
prisons, police, and courts in part because of diminished interpersonal
influence. Individuals were less inhibited by social norms and the
influence of others in their community. Consequently, they were
socially more isolated.24
In The Protestant Ethic, Max Weber25 applauded the role of this
greater "individualism" in promoting a more democratic culture and one
that was credited with leading to greater productivity and prosperity.
However, Harold Lasswell26 and other mass society theorists27 would
later warn of the dangers to democracy of easily influenced (via mass
media) individuals who were more alienated from one another and who
turned to the media for interaction.28
It was thus the processes of urbanization and industrialization in
Europe and North America that fundamentally affected social structures,
which in turn, led to concerns about "magic bullet" effects of the
media.29 But the corollary was that the media's role in society was
also redefined. The penny press in the U.S., for example, forever
changed and expanded the parameters of what the media would cover in a
There are strong parallels between Tonnies' analysis of Gemeinschaft
and much of Africa's current traditional social structures. But
perhaps the best theoretical framework for analyzing African society
and the issue of press freedom is found in Edward Hall's31 dichotomy of
high- vs low-context cultures.
The Media and Africa's "High-Context" Cultures
Hall's analysis of society and culture takes Tonnies' theory a
step further by focusing on social and psychological premises that
separate traditional cultures from modern ones. According to Hall's
proposition, culture is transmitted through context and codes. In some
societies, the meaning of communication is embedded more in the context
than in the explicit message (or code). In these "high-context"
cultures more is communicated with less explicit information. In other
cultures, however, context plays a reduced role in conveying meaning.
In these "low-context" cultures, more of the explicit information
(code) is used in order for meaning to be communicated.32
As Hall put it, "High-context communication, in contrast to
low-context, is economical, fast, efficient, and satisfying."33 It is
also "a cohesive force that is slow to change."34
Thus the "context" could be considered to be in the situation or
the environment in which the communication takes place. It is "that
which surrounds something and helps give it meaning."35
Interactionist sociologists like Blumer36 and Goffman37 pointed out
the importance of context to meaning-formation. They also offered an
analysis of both the social and psychological nature of "frames" that
we use to orient ourselves to situations in which we interact with
others, where the meaning of words or physical gestures is determined
in part by the nature of relationships between individuals. In this
regard, one could posit that the effects of symbolic interaction are
more pronounced in high-context cultures than they are in low-context
Because low-context cultures are generally found in developed and
urbanized countries like the United States and Western Europe, while
high-context cultures are mostly in the developing world such as Africa,
38 it is important to provide a brief overview of some key
(1) Oral versus print cultures
In Africa, the majority of the population still leads a rural
lifestyle. And although there are chirographic societies (societies
that have developed writing) in Ethiopia and Arab-influenced West
Africa, the rest of sub-Saharan Africa has traditionally had oral
Even where the Latin script has been used to write African
languages, widespread illiteracy prevents most Africans from breaking
with their oral traditions.40 And it is this oral culture that has had
important implications for the functions of a Western-style free press
on the continent.
Cultural anthropologists have determined that modes of
communication influence both the content of that communication and the
thinking behind it. Ong,41 for example, argues that technologies of
communication (e.g., printing press) affects people's reasoning and
thinking. In a print culture, people are able to separate themselves
from their own thoughts. The knower can be separated from the known.
The sign is separated from its referent. This is not only possible but
is desirable because of the premium placed on journalistic
Objectivity is consistent with positivist, rational thinking of
the West primarily because the concept became practical only with the
introduction of the printing press. But our interest in the technology
of printing lies in its de-contextualizing effect on communication.42
Printed information subtracts context to the extent that it makes it
possible to use a sign that has been separated from its referent.43 And
the focus on "facts" required by objectivity inevitably leads to a
subtraction of context.
In an analysis of the American legal system, Hall, for example,
describes how the law can be so decontexted in interpretations that, in
many cases, it can no longer be a force for justice but "something more
akin to gambling."44 Hall points to the insistence on "yes" and "no"
answers in many courtrooms to illustrate how decontexting is
In oral cultures, on the other hand, there is no manipulation of
concepts of space and time. There can be no separation of a sign from
its referent. For instance, performances and dances are not
photographed and then written about at a later time. Rather, they are
done "live"--with much of their context intact.
In comparing the content differences between Somali poetry and
Western literary art forms, Samatar45 mentions the relative richness of
oral, as opposed to print, poetic styles:
Unlike Western poetry, which appears to be primarily a
concern of a group of professionals dealing with, more often
than not, a subject matter intended for the members of what
seems a small, highly literate section of society, Somali
pastoral verse is a living art affecting almost every aspect
And because the context of this art form is dense, the "code" does not
have to be explicit. When discussing sensitive information, such as a
criticism of someone's behavior, the high-context nature of oral
society allows individuals to use inferences and indirect
references--not the explicit, "in-your-face" style of discourse that
can be associated with print cultures. As Hall observed:
When talking about something they have on their minds, a
high-context individual will expect his interlocutors to know
what is bothering him, so that he doesn't have to be specific.47
This phenomenon, and its implications for the expression of political
dissent in Africa, has not been adequately explored.48
Although Africans have a traditional respect for authority, it is
not true that Africans are shy to criticize corrupt and ineffectual
leaders. Criticism of modern political leaders can be as vicious in
African societies as it is in any country in the West. But African
political criticism is hidden in her rich and varied oral discourse. It
is, therefore, more a matter of differences of style.
Although urban media (newspapers, radio, and television) may be
censored and controlled, authorities are unable to censor and control
the far more potent source of political information in oral
cultures--gossip, rumor, satirical lyrics and poems.
At the height of General Siyad Barre's oppressive regime in
Somalia, political dissent literature, although officially regarded as
treasonous, was nonetheless ubiquitous and available in the form of
cassette tape-borne songs and poems. In spite of the fear that the
secret police engendered, anti-Barre songs were played openly in
crowded street-side tea shops throughout Somalia's towns. Most of the
politically-oriented lyrics were cleverly disguised as expressions of
love gone bad.
This was possible because of how the dissension was registered.
The attack on the president and his government was, of course,
indirect. The songs and the poems used implicit references that were so
laden with context that they could have been construed in many
A British social anthropologist who has written extensively on
Somali folk art, and who speaks fluent Somali, admitted the following
in the introduction to one of his latest books:
When I was making my selection of poems I passed over many
which, though much admired by Somalis, are so intimately
entwined with local politics
and clan feuds, past and present, as to be incomprehensible
without a mass of explanatory material.49
Similarly, Achille Mbembe50 was fascinated by how crowds in Togo,
forced to chant praises of their president, were able to rhetorically
distort the praise into ridicule.
When Togolese were called upon to shout the party slogans
they would travesty the metaphors meant to glorify state power.
With a simple change of intonations, the same metaphor could
take on several meanings.51
This form of political dissent has now moved beyond oral discourse to
vernacular newspapers. But this involves a discussion of another
dimension of Africa's high-context societies.
2) "Elite" versus "Traditional" Cultures in Africa
Mazrui52 and Diop53 have both noted Africa's triple heritage--the
Islamic, the Western, and the indigenous. Before the arrival of the
Europeans, Africans along the Indian Ocean coastline and in much of
West Africa were influenced by the spread of Islam. This is reflected
in the strength of the Islamic religion in Africa, as well as cultural
traits in dress, cuisine, architecture, etc.
But Africa has arguably been influenced more by the West
through colonization and missionary work. Almost all educated Africans
speak at least one European language. Not only do they speak English or
French or Spanish or Portuguese, but many have been criticized for
becoming more European than African in their lifestyles, their
aspirations, their tastes, and even their thinking.54
Some critics charge that this is the intended effect of Western
imperialism. Jimada,55 for example, argues that the educational system
in much of Africa is designed to "make Africans seem like Europeans in
their thoughts, speech, attitudes and behavior." Nyamnjoh charges that
"France has never made a secret of its desire to 'frenchify' any
developing country it has had the opportunity to exert influence of any
Whether this effect was intended or not, Mazrui's57 observation,
that a new stratification has been added to African societies as a
result of the colonial experience, is quite right.
The institutionalization of European languages is the basis of this
new stratification. And Africa's educated elites arguably are closer in
terms of lifestyle, to their European counterparts than they are to
their own illiterate and rural brethren.
But what has this new split meant for press freedom in Africa?
Most of Africa's main urban newspapers and news magazines are published
in English or French.58 The readership of these papers is obviously the
better educated elites who, incidentally, do not comprise a large
percentage of the population. But African countries also have
indigenous language newspapers and magazines.59 And the differences
between these two media types sheds further light on the nature of
press freedom and political dissent in Africa.
As is the case with oral poetic and other literary art forms,
vernacular newspapers seem to enjoy greater freedoms with a wider range
of political discourse than do the European-language papers.60 Mazrui
notes that African leaders are more sensitive to criticism expressed in
English or French than they are to criticism expressed in the
vernacular.61 This may explain the seeming anomaly in the selective
censorship of newspapers in Uganda, for example.
During the worst years of Idi Amin's regime, only two privately
owned newspapers survived the government's crackdowns.62 These were
Munno and Taifa Empya--both published in indigenous African languages.
When President Obote returned from exile in 1980, there were more
government crackdowns on newspapers. One of the better known and more
serious newspapers in the country at the time was the Citizen.63 The
Citizen, along with three other newspapers, was shut down in 1981. The
only paper to survive that round of government action was Munansi (or
'Citizen' in the local Baganda language). It was indeed the same
newspaper as its sister English edition--complete with the same
Yet another example of the different sensitivity to English, as
opposed to vernacular newspapers in Uganda is the case of The
Star and Ngabo--both privately owned by Shield Publications. These
papers generally covered the same stories except that Ngabo (the
vernacular paper) was much bolder "and carried better features, which
is its strongest point."64 Ngabo, which comes out in the local Baganda
language, openly advocated a pro-monarchist position in a country that
forcibly became a republic in 1964--and still managed to evade the
3) 'Monochronic' versus 'polychronic' cultures
Another difference between low- and high-context cultures in Hall's
theory which has a bearing on the issue of press freedom--is the
differences in African and Western concepts of time. High-context
cultures are "polychronic," i.e., people tend to many different things
at the same time. In low-context cultures, on the other hand, a linear
order of inflexible schedules helps shape reality. This is a
"monochronic" culture where one task is targeted at a time.66
According to Hall, "if there is anything that can change the
character of life, it is how time is handled."67 He explains that in
American and European tradition, time is linear and "extends forward
into the future and backward to the past."68 It is also tangible, as
people talk of "saving," "spending," and "wasting" it. Although this
system has thoroughly been internalized by Westerners who consider it
"the only natural and logical way of organizing life,"69 Hall agrees
that "it is not inherent in man's own rhythms, nor is it existential in
Africans are certainly polychronic. The complex mixture of
different subjects addressed in oral literary art forms points to this
characteristic. But a more mundane illustration of this tendency is the
observation made by an African student returning home from college in
the United States.71 He noted how a group of African students dutifully
waited in line at airports in the U.S. and Europe. But as soon as they
arrived home in West Africa, they
abandoned the queue in earnest and vied for the attention of the
customs official--all at the same time!
Likewise, traditional African chiefs, perhaps because of African
aversion to individualism,72 may receive multiple guests and attend to
multiple problems at the same time.
But how does polychronism affect media and their content?
In discussions of the issue of pluralism and media ideologies in
Africa, Ansah73 differentiates between "internal" and "external"
diversities of media. If there are five newspapers, each of which
derives its uniqueness and identity from a different editorial
philosophy, we have "external" diversity. But when the same publication
"provides a forum for the expression of a broad range of views
representing different shades of opinion,"74 we have "internal"
In populations where literacy rates are low, it is only prudent to
raise questions about the relative utility of each form of "diversity."
In a critique of the libertarian notion of a "marketplace of ideas"
represented by a multitude of competing newspapers, Mazrui noted that:
Liberalism itself does not seem to realize that what it needs
is not the phenomenon of different ideas expressed in different
newspapers as such. It is different ideas expressed in the same
newspapers which would really constitute a competitive
intellectual market--a place where opinions do genuinely contest
for more general acceptance.75
Western media professionals would find this suggestion intriguing
to say the least, but it makes more sense in polychronic cultures.
During the 1970s and 1980s in Somalia, for example, every issue of the
privately-owned weekly newspaper, Horseed, printed some stories in
English, some in Italian, and still others in Arabic. The news in one
language was often not necessarily the same as that in the other two
languages. More significantly, some ideological positions adopted in
the Arabic-language stories, for instance, were different from those
written in Italian, and so on.76
This utilitarian aspect of African journalism is seen as socially
functional by some. Mazrui, for example, defends the need for "internal
diversity" of African newspapers, arguing that, "a population that is
split up into little clusters of readers of multiple little newspapers
is not using the press for maximum communication."77
This implies that the strength of Western influence on Africa
notwithstanding, some of those who write for the media of the continent
have not lost all traits of their oral cultural heritage. It also means
that they have not completely internalized the linear reasoning pattern
that is a central feature of the low-context cultures of the West.
The process of political liberalization in some regions of the
world, touched off by the fall of communism in Europe in 1989, raised
hopes for media practitioners under authoritarian African systems.
Demands for political pluralism on the continent were accompanied
by demands for greater press freedom. But when a Western-style
adversarial press failed to materialize on a sustained basis even after
free elections were held, there was a chorus of indignant
recriminations from several quarters.78
Frustrated critics charged that enough freedom was not being
granted to the press. Others demanded a Jeffersonian-style "Bill of
Rights" to be drawn up if there is going to be real democracy.79
Eshete,80 for instance, suggests that the reason Ethiopia's
constitutionally guaranteed human rights have so far meant so little is
because individual rights have been subordinated to collective rights.
In Kenya, Muigai81 complains of the "corruption" represented in the
failure by officials of the ruling KANU Party to distinguish between
what belongs to the party and what belongs to the state.
Although authoritarian repression undoubtedly retards intellectual
creativity in African societies, the argument advanced here is that
cultural determinants may play a more important role in defining the
character of African media than the relative openness of a given
Consequently, Eshete's critique of the Ethiopian situation is
incorrect to the extent that the history of Africa's traditional social
relationships contains no recognition of individual rights per se. The
call for such rights is obviously a reflection of the extent of Western
influence on contemporary African social thought.
Likewise, the actions of KANU's officials in Kenya are consistent
with the non-compartmentalization of activity associated with
non-linear thought processes of "polychronic" cultures.
In a strict African context, therefore, we can argue that Africa's
media do perform their social functions adequately (with the possible
exception of broadcast stations). We should remember that "freedom" is
a relative concept, and in any case, should not be synonymous with the
production of only a certain type of content. The social and cultural
differences between high- and low-context cultures should be considered
in evaluating the kinds of content we look for in judging the degree of
press freedom. Africa's oral societies express disagreement and
disapproval in a sophisticated and indirect manner that is intended to
have multiple interpretations. The true significance of this form of
expression may be missed completely by an outsider, especially one from
a low-context culture.
Meanwhile, it is important to note that the continent's newest
social stratification--the one between Westernized elites and their
rural, illiterate compatriots, has not been enough to transform the
high-context nature of African society. This is evident in the
"polychronic" character of media personnel who, remarkably, have
demonstrated their capacity to combine disparate philosophical
perspectives within the same medium.
1) Bruce Russett and James S. Sutterlin, "The U.N. in a New
World Order." Foreign Affairs. 70(2): 68-83, 1991.
2) Paul A. Ansah, "Blueprint for Freedom." Index on
Censorship. Vol. 20, No. 9, October 1991; Daniel J.
Sharfstein, "Ghana's Independent Newspapers." Africa
Report. 40(3): May-June, 1995; Andrew Meldrum, "The Fragile
Freedom." Africa Report. 38(5): Sept.-Oct. 1993; Barry
Shelby, "The Measure of Freedom." Africa Report. 38(3):
May-June 1993. Cameron Duodo, "The Demise of
One-Party Rule." World Press Review. 37:34, Aug. 1990.
3) Ansah, "Blueprint for Freedom," p. 3.
4) Ansah, "Blueprint for Freedom," p. 3.
5) Quoted in David Zaring, "Ghana's Largest Newspaper Wins
Censorship Battle." Africa News. Oct. 26-Nov.8, 1992, p.3.
6) Babacar Toure, "The Price of a Free Press,"
Unesco Courier 43, Sept. 1990, pp. 24-26.
7) Toure, "The Price of a Free Press," p. 26.
8) Charles Rukuni, "Independent Press in Peril,"
Index on Censorship. 20(9): Oct. 1991, p. 17.
9) Shelby, "The Measure of Freedom." p. 61.
10) Adewale Maja-Pearce, "The Press in East Africa."
Index on Censorship. 21(7): July-August, 1992.
11) Peter Biles, "Rifts in the Opposition," Africa Report.
37(4): July-August, 1992; Anne Sheperd, "The Economics of
Democracy." Africa Report. 37(2): March-April, 1992.
Maja-Pearce, "The press in East Africa."
12) Louise M. Bourgault, "The Flowering of Democracy and the
Press in the 1990s in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of
Zambia." Paper presented to the 37th annual meeting of the
African Studies Association, Toronto, 1994.
13) Ammanuel Watremez, "The Satirical Press in Francophone
Africa." Index on Censorship. 21(10): Nov. 1992.
14) Andreas Eshete, "Implementing Human Rights and a
Democratic Constitution in Ethiopia." ISSUE. XXI:1-2, 1993.
15) Ali A. Mazrui, Cultural Engineering and Nation-Building in
East Africa. (Evanston, Il.: Northwestern University
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African Political System." in Peter C.W. Gutkind (ed.),
The Passing of Tribal Man in Africa. (Leiden, Netherlands:
E.J. Brill, 1970). pp. 102-112.
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Doves Press, 1907 )
17) Whitney R. Mundt, "Global Media Philosophies." in John C.
Merrill (ed.), Global Jornalism. (N.Y.: Longman, 1991),
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1991); Fred Siebert, T. Peterson, and W. Schramm, Four
Theories of the Press. (Urbana: University of Illinois
19) Steven Seidman, Liberalism and the Origins of European
Social Theory. (Berkeley: University of California Press,
20) Ferdinand Tonnies, Community and Society. (East Lansing,
Mi.: Michigan State University Press, 1957.)
21) Seidman, Liberalism and the Origins of European Social
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29) Lasswell, World Politics. pp. 29-35.
30) Edwin Emery, The Press and America. 3rd ed.
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31) Edward T. Hall, Beyond Culture. (N.Y.: Doubleday, 1981).
32) Raymond Gozzi, Jr. "Mass media effects in high- and
low-context culures." in Felipe Korzenny, Stella Ting-
Toomey, Elizabeth Schiff (eds.), Mass Media Effects Across
Cultures. (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1992), pp. 55-66.
33) Hall, Beyond Culture. p. 101.
34) Hall, Beyond Culture. p. 101.
35) Gozzi, "Mass media effects," p. 55.
36) Herbert Blumer, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and
Method. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969).
37) Goffman, Frame Analysis.
38) Hall, Beyond Culture; Gozzi, "Mass media effects."
39) Margo Jefferson and Elliott Skinner, Roots of Time: A
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Africa World Press, 1990).
40) Dennis Wilcox, Mass Media in Black Africa: Philosophy and
Control. (N.Y.: Praeger, 1975).
41) Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy. (London: Methuen, 1982).
42) Hall, Beyond Culture.
43) Gozzi, "Mass media effects."
44) Hall, Beyond Culture, p. 106.
45) Said S. Samatar, "Somali verbal and material arts." In
Katheryne Loughran, John Loughran, John Johnson, and Said
Samatar (eds.), Somalia in Word and Image. (Bloomington,
In.: Indiana University Press, 1986), pp.27-34.
46) Samatar, "Somali verbal and material arts." p. 27.
47) Hall, Beyond Culture, p. 113.
48) M. Riley, "Indigenous resources in Africa: unexplored
communication potential." Howard Journal of Communication.
2(3): 301-314, Summer, 1990.
49) B.W. Andrzejewski and Sheila Andrzejewski (Trans.),
An Anthology of Somali Poetry. (Bloomington, In.:
Indiana University Press, 1993).
50) Achille Mbembe, "The banality of power and the aesthetics
of vulgarity in the postcolony." Trans. Janet Roitman,
Public Culture. 4(2): Spring 1992, pp. 1-30.
51) Mbembe, "The banality of power," p. 7.
52) Ali Mazrui, The Africans: A Triple Heritage.
(Boston: Little, Brown, 1986).
53) Cheikh Anta Diop, Civilisation ou Barbarie.(Paris:
Presence Africaine, 1983).
54) Usman Jimada, "Eurocentric media training in Nigeria: what
alternative?" Journal of Black Studies. 22(3): March 1992,
pp. 366-379; Adrienne M. Israel, "The Afrocentric
perspective in African journalism." Journal of Black
Studies. 22(3): March 1992, pp. 411-428.
55) Jimada, "Eurocentric media training," p. 367.
56) Francis B. Nyamnjoh, "Broadcasting in francophone Africa:
Crusading for French Culture?" Gazette. 42, 1988, p. 81.
57) Ali Mazrui, Political Values and the Educated Class in
Africa.(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978),
58) William Hachten, The Growth of Media in the Third World:
African Failures, Asian Successes. (Ames: Iowa State
University Press, 1993).
59) F.O. Ugbuojah (ed.), Mass Communication, Culture and
Society in West Africa. (London: Hans Zell Publications,
60) Ali Mazrui, Violence and Thought: Essays on Social Tension
in Africa. (Longman, 1969); Maja-Pearce, "The press in
61) Mazrui, Violence and Thought.
62) Maja-Pearce, "The press in East Africa."
63) Maja-Pearce, "The press in East Africa."
64) Maja-Pearce, "The press in East Africa," p. 67.
65) Maja-Pearce, "The press in East Africa."
66) Hall, Beyond Culture.
67) Hall, Beyond Culture, p. 136.
68) Hall, Beyond Culture, p. 19.
69) Hall, Beyond Culture, p. 19.
70) Hall, Beyond Culture, p. 19.
71) This comment was made to me in 1990 in a personal
conversation with Robert Omoniyi, who was then a student
at a large Midwestern university.
72) Paul Reisman "The person and the life-cycle in African
social life and thought," African Studies Review. 29,
Sept. 1986, pp. 71-138.
73) Paul Ansah, "Blueprint for Freedom." Index on Censorship.
20(9): October 1991, pp. 3-8.
74) Ansah, "Blueprint for freedom," p. 6.
75) Mazrui, Violence and Thought. p. 269.
76) This could be a function of the different training and
education of the writers in each language. The
editor-in-chief, for example, was closely tied to the
Baathist Party in Iraq and Syria. His Italian-language
writers, on the other hand, had more of a West European
77) Mazrui, Violence and Thought. p. 270.
78) Mahmood Mamdani, "Africa: Democratic Theory and Democratic
Struggles." Dissent. Vol. 39:312-318, 1992.
79) Andreas Eshete, "Implementing human rights and a
democratic constitution in Ethiopia," Issue: A Journal of
Opinion. 21:1-2, 1993, pp.8-13.
80) Eshete, "Implementing human rights."
81) Githu Muigai, "Kenya's opposition and the crisis of
governance," Issue: A Journal of Opinion. 21(1-2), 1993,