Friday, June 19, 2009

The Africa Media & Democracy Project at the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College - University of London

The future of democracy in Africa and indeed globally is inseparable from the capacities of media – at all scales from the local to the global. The sustainability and the expansion of democracy depend equally on what media institutions do and what spaces media make possible.

The Africa Media & Democracy Conference, at Goldsmiths is part of the Department's global media and democracy initiative. The Africa Media & Democracy project brings together African academics, media practitioners, political, social commentators and opinion leaders to interrogate the role of media in democracy in Africa through which the larger African populace perceive and hold their Governments accountable.

The project takes the form of a conference (seminar/workshops) and is organised annually in a chosen African country based on a number of factors. The seminars are delivered by distinguished scholars, media practitioners, politicians etc. from Africa and rest of the world.

Topics to be explored include:

•The role of Media in local democracy in Africa

•National media, democracy and the construction of 'the citizen'.

•Media, democracy and the transnational public sphere.

•New media and social movements

•Media ethics

The project consists of two (2) phases:

(a)Conference & seminar

(a) Publication

Our maiden seminar is to take place in Accra, Ghana on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th November 2009, and is entitled; Mediating Democracy In Africa.

The programme is in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Ahenti Media Consult (Ghana).

The Accra Conference aims to address the critical concerns that arise from the practice of 'Announcing elections results' by the media as part of their legitimate role in entrenching the democratic process. Such practices however, have become contentious in recent times and are increasingly becoming a pattern in emerging democracies in Africa. The seminar aims address both the constitutional and ethical issues that erupt from such media practice as well as providing a context for comparison, dialogue and analysis between media practices situated in different cultural-political environments from a global perspective. The three-day (3) seminar will be addressed by distinguished speakers drawn from the academia and the media.

BACKGROUND: Recent developments of the growing influence of the Ghanaian media, particularly radio and television in monitoring, pollstering, announcing but also 'nuancing' election results ahead of the Electoral Commissioner from various electoral constituencies has been contested by politicians, constitutionalist experts and media practitioners alike.

The seminar aims to address and examine among others the location of such media practices, their constitutional legitimacy and in relation to freedom of information in democratic dispensation.

When does 'announcing' becomes 'endorsement' of a particular political party contesting a democratic election?

What is the impact on the electorate of such early announcement of leading parties?

What are implications for social and national cohesion of such practice in fiercely contested elections?

What necessitated such practice? and what is the way forwards?

For more information contact: Barima Adu-Asamoa ( )

or Dr. Gareth Stanton Director, (

Head of Department The Africa Media & Democracy Project Media & Communications

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