Thursday, September 29, 2011

Liberia Elections 2011 : “Because Accountability Matters”

"Because Accountability Matters" is the outcome of the media monitoring component of the "Strengthened Media for Transparent Elections" project. The overall objective of the project is to support independent media coverage of the 2011 Elections. It further seeks to initiate new directions for the Liberian media in the coverage of the electoral and political processes that accord higher priority to electoral accountability, issue focused campaigns and application of ethical principles. It is being facilitated with capacity building initiatives and advocacy on electoral accountability, issue-focused election reporting and monitoring of electoral coverage by the media. It also includes the use of ICTs (new media technologies especially) in monitoring and reporting of elections. The project has also enabled LMC to provide equipment support for more than 300 Liberian journalists and about 35 community radio stations.

"Strengthened Media for Transparent Elections" was conceived against the background of the social responsibility and watch dog functions of the media through which it is expected to entrench the ideals of openness and accountability in the political and electioneering processes.
The program is jointly supported by USAID, through a grant to IREX USA; UNESCO; Denmark based International Media Support and the Africa Elections Project in Accra, Ghana.
The report aims to highlight media performance in the coverage of news, events and debates during the 2011 Liberian Elections. It is designed to stimulate performance and to provide a platform for debate on the findings.

This publication therefore encapsulates one month of monitoring in August 2011 and provides summaries of areas requiring improvement by various media outlets. The report represents the first in a series, which continues till December 2011 and would culminate into the production of a comprehensive documentation on the media role during the 2011 electoral cycle.

LMC hopes the assessment will achieve the intended purpose of encouraging the media to provide appropriate professional response and add value to collective efforts for free, fair and transparent elections devoid of violence. The report is however based on the monitoring of the radio and newspapers during the period. The second report to be release in October will feature television monitoring results.


While the project reviews all published dailies to document incidents of ethical transgression, only 11 newspapers and seven radio stations are closely monitored using sets of pre-set questionnaire or coding sheets. This report covers these institutions though reference is also made to some institutions outside the rigorous assessment process, especially as it pertains to grave ethical transgressions.
The newspapers were selected on the basis of their regularity prior to the monitoring.  As a result, most of the papers selected are dailies. Seven radio stations were selected on the basis of their programming, reach, and relative consistency on the air.

For radio, a total of 63 hours of radio time were recorded and evaluated, using a code frame that contained 141 semi-structured questions for radio and 154 semi-structured questions for newspaper. The report focused on a number of indicators ranging from coverage of issues, parties and candidates, space and airtime distribution and distribution of advertisement. A reflection of the coverage across the various county and sources that generated the news was also assessed. Media biases, content quality, partisan reporting, gender and conflict sensitive reporting were amongst the indicators assessed.

Processing of the data begins with monitors, who report their daily code frames to a supervisor, who in turn forward his report to the Project Consultant. The Consultant verifies the coding of each newspaper and radio station before the data is entered in the computer –based data processing system. The computer generated results are then placed within an analysis chart and quantitative reports are generated together with qualitative analysis generated separately by monitors.

The Chart below shows the percentage of issues that were reported as news by the radio stations during the period

In general, the outcome of the monitoring exercise indicates the Liberian media's robust engagement with the electoral processes as citizens prepare for the first election to be conducted by post-war democratically elected government.

A major indication of this was the amount of space and time allotted by the newspapers and radio stations to the coverage of the pre-election referendum that was then pending. Although, it meant that other developmental issues were relegated to the background, it nonetheless showed that the media was paying a deserved attention to a process whose outcome might have significant effect on the actual elections. In this regard, the court actions that have followed the result of the referendum could be seen as vindicating the stance of the media on this particular issue.

The result also shows that during the period under review, the media focused on the National Electoral Commission (NEC), being the all-important umpire whose deeds or misdeeds could have profound effect on the credibility of the elections. Understandably, NEC featured very well in the referendum related stories as it was also its responsibility to conduct it. In all instances during the monitoring exercise, NEC and the referendum got prominent mention in terms of placement of the stories. For example, in the case of the newspapers, 48% of elections related stories dealing with the activities of NEC and the referendum appeared as front page lead or sub leads. Among the highlighted issues in the stories were the registration process, opinions of the political parties and candidates whether the referendum was desirable or not with some actually advocating the boycott of the process.

Similarly, 36.1% of the 129 monitored programs of the radio stations centered on the referendum. These were in the form of open discussions of issues relating to the referendum such as the sensitization campaigns and the views of the opposition political parties. The observed weakness is the poor attention to gender in the referendum and election related stories as only two stations, UNMIL and Truth FM, featured gender related debates.

More welcoming however is the prominent featuring of news from the campaign rallies (20%) and news specific to the political parties (15.6%) by the radio stations which would suggest on face value, that the radio stations intended to help the electorates with the information that could aid their choice of Parties and candidates. Unfortunately, this intent might not have been fully realized as the news and programs were poor in content when it comes to the agenda and policies of the political parties. It should be worrisome that less than 2% of the issues covered dealt with health, business and development policies.

The monitoring report also indicates that the radio stations have succeeded more than the newspapers, in engendering public participation in the political discourse. Many callers and participants in various radio programs have been quite vocal and eloquent on questioning candidates on the issues of concern to them. Overall, the coverage of issues by the broadcast media was much better as influenced by the audience contribution. Although the newspapers do not have such advantage, the creative use of the new and social media could be a way of increasing their engagement with the public on the electioneering.

Another noticeable feature of the report is the skewed coverage of the political parties with the data gathered from the monitoring period showing that the newspapers generally seem to build stories around four of the over twenty nine registered political parties contending for power.  If this trend continues, the underreported parties might allege that they are being marginalized by the media.  The four parties that have been given favorable coverage are the ruling Unity Party, the CDC, the LP and NDC. Meanwhile the nature of the stories reported by the media on the leading parties also raises some questions. For example, whereas over 50% of the news stories on CDC centered on internal political wrangling especially as emanating from the party's convention, the ruling Unity Party received more favorable coverage of its progress, programs, events and activities.

For a country divided into counties populated by diverse peoples, attention to diversity is an important focus of the monitoring exercise. Here the newspapers did not put up an impressive performance to the extent that about 86% of newspapers election related stories originated from Montserrado. In contrast, Nimba County with almost half a million people out of the 3.5 million Liberian population had less than 7% mention. Other Counties even fared worse.

The newspapers might feel justified not only because they are based in Monrovia, the capital but also because the Montserrado as a whole county has the largest population compared with others. But the newspapers should have put into consideration that fact that the forthcoming elections are national in character; across all the counties, the president, the senators and the representatives will be voted for and elected.

Overall, the radio reports fared only marginally better than the newspapers as they too had 83.6% of stories coming from Montserrado, the seat of government. Bong and Nimba Counties followed with 2.8% and 2.5% respectively. However the radio stations covered more counties. ELBC reports covered nine of the fifteen counties; Truth FM, eight; UNMIL Radio, seven; LWDR, four and Radio Veritas, SKY FM and LUX FM three counties each.

The diversity performance was better in giving space and voice to non-political actors whose objective opinions help in shaping issue-focused campaigns. Both the newspapers and radio stations featured significantly the civil society, foreign missions and youth as well as women groups.
The effect of advertising on the reporting of the elections was another area of importance examined by the monitoring to determine if it accounted for favorable and non-favorable coverage of the political parties. UP had 88% of political party adverts in "The News" newspaper and received favorable coverage with a story on the president's presence at a campaign rally sensationally titled "Ellen Rocks" in the August 8 edition. CDC did not have ads in the newspaper. On July 28 it ran a story titled "Tubman a failed UN Diplomat" that was more opinionated than factual.

Finally, on a more positive note, the fact of government ownership seems not to have affected ELBC during the period in question. It had more balanced stories than the private stations. Forty two of its 65 elections news stories fell into the balanced category whereas the privately owned Sky FM had 19; Radio Veritas, 17; Truth FM, 15; LWDR, 6 and Lux FM, 7. UNMIL had just two balanced election news stories, with no balanced reports as most of their stories were not applicable.


As seen from the findings, the media faces huge challenges running into a crucial two weeks period especially on account of recent performance from some media organizations. The temptation to report issues along partisan lines will also exist but mustering the professional will and judgment to resist these temptations and stay above the fray will contribute immensely in determining the peaceful outcome of the electoral process. To achieve this goal, journalists must remain non-partisan even if they are in the employ of media owners with partisan agenda. Ensuring that news and information dissemination remain conflict sensitive is an obligation not an option and journalists should be reminded that this obligation is inextricably linked with a violent free and peaceful elections. As polling day looms, the media is encouraged to provide a balanced perspective on the candidates' platform, track record and performance. Giving equal space and airtime in a commercially driven period can be challenging but media owners should seek to promote diversity and undue monopolization of their outlet by any single political party.  The media must unite to promote peace through reporting the process in an unbiased and transparent manner.

Supported by USAID through IREX, UNESCO and International Media Support.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Awards for Innovative New Media Journalists at Highway Africa.

The 15th Highway Africa Conference is underway at Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), South Africa.  For fifteen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa's debates on journalism and new media. The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.


At this year's event, journalists who have innovatively applied the evolving New Media within the context of Africa's media will receive awards at the 11th SABC-Telekom-Highway Africa New Media Awards 2011. The awards will be in three categories, namely; individual, non-profit and corporate. Winners of the various categories will be announced during the conference at a prestigious gala which would be held on Sunday 18th September.


This year, the prestigious Highway Africa New Media Awards celebrates ten years of existence. The awards have become one of the major highlights of recognition, reward and celebration of creativity in using new technologies in media in Africa. The wide range of organisations and individuals that have won include journalists and students, NGOs and profit making organisations. These individuals and organisations have made information and communication interventions that have been critical to the genuine free flow of information and participatory communication. When the history of new media technologies is written, the awards will have a central place as a process and event that played the role of catalyst and promoter of innovation.


Kwami Ahiabenu II, Chair of the Highway Africa conference and director of Penplusbytes had this to say  " this years' award celebrate individuals and organizations who are leading the way by applying innovative ways to overcome the limitations in Africa media space while pushing for creative adaptation of global technologies in an African media context".


A new book "Media & The Africa Promise Pan Africa Media Conference 2010" is expected to be launched at Highway Africa,Jerry Sam, Penplusbytes Project Director is one of the book contributors.

Highway Africa 2011 is under the theme; ''African Media and Global Sustainability Challenge '' and will serve as a platform for African journalists and people in the media to display their sense of passion in framing issues regarding climate change, food security and global sustainability. With Marking the 20th year of the Windhoek Declaration: Pan African Conference on Access to Information (PACAI) running co-currently at Highway Africa



Editor's note


International Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Journalism (PenPlusBytes) established in 2001 seeks to empower the media through the use of ICTs to advance the work of journalism. It consists of a network of media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs effectively to advance high quality journalism.


Highway Africa is a partnership between Rhodes University (School of Journalism and Media Studies) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), with the support of several partners, development agencies and sponsors. For fourteen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa's debates on journalism and new media. The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Oil and Gas reporting award at Ghana Journalists Association Annual Awards

Picture: Sylvanus Nana Kumi receiving award from Mr Emmanuel Kuyole RWI, Africa Director

Sylvanus Nana Kumi of the Ghana Business Guide emerged the first recipient of the prestigious Ghana Journalists Association "Oil and Gas reporting" award 2011. The award is sponsored by Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) through its Ghanaian partner Penplusbytes (PPB) under the "Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors Pilot Program".

The "Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors Pilot Program" is being run concurrently by RWI and its partners in both Ghana and Uganda with the objective to increase the quantity and quality of coverage of extractive-related issues in the print and broadcast media in Ghana and Uganda by developing mechanisms for media capacity building on extractive governance that are scalable and sustainable in these countries. Currently fifteen (15) journalists have already been trained under the programme with a second batch of fourteen (14) journalists expected to start in October 2011.

Mr Kumi who won the award with his a story "Before Ghana Pumps Oil" received a special plague from Mr Emmanuel Kuyole RWI, Africa Director at an impressive ceremony in Accra graced by the H.E. Vice President of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama.

The GJA awards which is in its 16th year, was instituted to promote high journalistic standards, as well as motivate members who have excelled in their work. This year's award was under the theme 'Giving Impetus to Democracy and Development: The Role of Investigative Journalism'. In all 35 awards were given to journalists and some media houses, while honorary awards were conferred on five individuals.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Ghana : Best Reporter in oil and gas to receive GJA Awards

Revenue Watch Institute working with Penplusbytes is sponsoring the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Award for best reporter in "Oil and Gas" category taking place on Friday September 9th, at the Banquet Hall, State House, Accra Ghana.  

This award comes at a time Ghana is producing oil and gas in commercial quantities and the media is expected to play a watch dog role over the oil revenue.  The award is expected to help showcase good reporting around extractive governance and help raise the benchmark for other journalists wanting to specialize in oil and gas reporting.

The "Oil and Gas" category will recognize the journalist/journalists who have demonstrably displayed reporting techniques and skills in the wake of Ghana's oil discovery and its related business growth possibilities. The recipient of this prestigious award will be presented with a lap-top computer, a special plaque and a certificate.

 This awards forms part of Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) "Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors Pilot Program" which is being implemented in Ghana by Penplusbytes. The program hopes to holistically and intensively support participating journalists over the long term and ultimately stimulate effective and consistent coverage by the media of extractive resources and revenues, thereby contributing to their improved use for the public good in Africa.

Kwami Ahiabenu of Penplusbytes said  "good governance of oil, gas and mining (extractive) resources and revenues requires effective oversight and a knowledgeable and active media is critical to having an informed and engaged public, civil society and parliament that can hold government to account and we are working to ensure  journalists are equipped to play this role effectively "

Notes to Editor

The Revenue Watch Institute is a non-profit policy institute and grantmaking organization that promotes the effective, transparent and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good. Through capacity building, technical assistance, research, funding and advocacy, we help countries realize the development benefits of their natural resource wealth.

International Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Journalism (PenPlusBytes) is a registered company limited by guarantee since 18th July 2001. PenPlusBytes seeks to empower the media through the use of ICTs to advance the work of journalism. It consists of a network of media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs effectively to advance the course of journalism.


 Follow us on twitter:!/oilgasghana


International Institute for ICT Journalism

Thursday, September 08, 2011

How journalists are using the iPad to enhance their reporting

Many journalists know what it's like to have a source freeze when you pull out a microphone or start recording them on camera. What were once colorful anecdotes can quickly turn into stilted monologues.

Now that the quality of mobile and tablet devices is so advanced, however, reporters are finding new ways to use them — and lower the barriers between themselves and their sources.

My first experience of iPad reporting was illuminating. A few days after the first generation device came out in 2010, I tried using it on a New York City subway. I wanted to do something simple like read a news app, but each time I tried, the person sitting next to me asked if she could touch the screen.

Even standing up, I'd get curious stares from around the carriage and I would put the device away. It was the first week of its much-hyped release after all, but I was feeling more self-conscious than the people on the street with a video camera in their face.

I decided to embrace the feeling for a radio story. My first piece about the iPad was a look at why it was drawing so much attention. I took the device to Washington Square Park in downtown Manhattan and brandished it without reserve. Dozens of people stopped me to ask for a look, and I interviewed them all with the iPad's voice recorder. The story's headline was apt: Can the iPad Get You a Date? (It turns out, it can.)

More than a year — and another iPad generation later — the device is far more ubiquitous. Now that more people are using smartphones and tablets, sources are less likely to freeze up when you pull out a device they're used to seeing.

I've found mobile devices to be especially effective for on-the-street interviews. When New York City brought in a new system of letter grades for restaurant health inspections last year, the WNYC newsroom asked me to get reaction from New Yorkers. Using my iPad, I asked people on the street where they liked to eat and then looked up the restaurant's inspection report online. I was able to capture their reactions when they heard the details — things like evidence of live vermin at their favorite restaurants. It was tape I could not have gotten in the moment without an iPad.

I used it in a similar way for a story about surveillance cameras in New York. It was after the attempted bombing of Times Square last year, when there was a focus on the street cameras that captured a man police were looking for. With the iPad, I interviewed people below government traffic cameras and then showed them live images from those cameras on the iPad to get their reaction.

Richard Gutjahr, a Germany-based TV, print and radio journalist, has also used mobile devices to enhance his reporting.

"I was in Tahrir Square in Egypt when the revolution broke out and they stole my camera at the checkpoint when I tried to enter Cairo," Gutjahr told me via Skype.

He didn't argue when they took the broadcast equipment, fearing they would also take his iPhone and Macbook Air. When he got to the square, he used his phone as a hot spot on the only working cellular data network available. (The government had shut down the Internet). He took pictures with his iPhone and filed stories with his Air. Far from limiting his abilities, he says it helped.

"I didn't have fancy equipment or a camera crew with me," Gutjahr said. "I was just sitting in front of the protesters, who also had their gadgets. It was the perfect camouflage."

Gutjahr said he noticed that standard TV cameras would attract raucous crowds that overshadowed the peaceful singing and quiet protests happening away from the cameras. The benefits of blending in were so great that he says he now prefers to leave his camera crew behind whenever possible. While reporting, Gutjahr uses apps like UstreamAudiobooTweetdeck for iPhone,Camera+ and iMovie.

Reporter Neal Augenstein got attention earlier this year for being one of the first radio reporters to ditch his broadcast gear entirely for an iPhone and iPad. He said he can do his job as a reporter at Washington D.C.'s commercial all-news station, WTOP, just as well without it.

"After it's gone through production [and] played on the air, my sense is it's the same as audio recorded by anyone else," Augenstein told me via Skype.

Augenstein uses his iPhone to record interviews using the built-in microphone. When he's at a press conference, he uses his iPad to take notes with the phone at the podium. The devices, he said, have changed his entire workflow. He now begins a story with a tweet, takes photos and videos for the Web, and then files a radio report. Before Augenstein made the switch, he wasn't even using social media. He uses a series of apps in his reporting, including 1st Video by VericorderTwitterUstreamSkype and Camera+.

Like any profession, the quality of the journalism depends more on the journalist than on the tools. But if the tools let you capture stories you wouldn't otherwise get and expose you to platforms you wouldn't ordinarily go to, they can greatly improve the quality of the stories you tell.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Boot camp : Enhancing your future as a Journalist through online Journalism

Penplusbytes in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association will be organizing a first ever boot camp on online for future journalists at the Accra International Press Centre on 21st October 2011 with support from Main One and Raycom Technologies. The boot camp forms part of 10th anniversary of the International Institute for ICT's Journalism (Penplusbytes), which was establish on 18th July 2001 with the vision of  empowering the media through the use of ICTs.
Under the theme "ENHANCING YOUR FUTURE AS A JOURNALIST THROUGH ONLINE JOURNALISM" is aimed at educating budding journalists on online reporting and related technologies and how they can take advantages of opportunities offered by online journalism as part of their career development plan.  as journalists.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Digital Citizens’ Indaba 2011 Theme: Freedom of Information and Digital Citizens

Concept document for the Digital Citizens' Indaba 2011 Theme: Freedom of Information and Digital Citizens Date: 19 September 2011
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre

1. Background and objectives
The main objective of the Digital Citizens' Indaba (DCI) is to bring together digital activists, (digital) media practitioners, online industry experts and civil society representatives, as citizens who try to empower themselves and their community using new media technologies.The purpose of bringing them together is to enable this empowerment to take place through participation in debate about the state of digital media, information sharing and skills transfer using experts in the field. The DCI was established after it was recognised that – given its focus on digital media and journalism – Highway Africa (HA) could do more to encourage digital media take-up by non-journalists, thereby ensuring that citizens have a digital voice too.
Besides panel discussions the DCI also offers workshops to its participants, ensuring that each digital citizen returns home with both newly acquired knowledge and skills. DCI furthermore encourages local participation in their event. During the fifth DCI in 2010, 20 citizen journalists from Grahamstown were invited to take part and produced a poster exhibiting their work.

DCI through the years
The first DCI was held in 2006, which took place immediately before the HA Conference in Grahamstown. The second DCI in 2007 attracted high-level speakers and participants, these included Africa's foremost bloggers Ory Okolloh and Daudi Were. While the first DCI focussed on blogging in Africa, subsequent DCI 's focussed on a broader array of digital technologies used to promote citizen involvement, such as Web 2.0, mobile media and microblogs.
The third DCI in 2008 carried the theme 'Technology for the Digital Citizen', which complimented HA's overall theme of 'Citizen journalism, journalism for citizens', while maintaining its focus on citizens rather than journalists. This DCI focussed on questions of appropriate technology, and concentrated on the technologies that have proven to empower Africa's digital citizens.
The fourth DCI in 2009 focussed less on technology questions, and more on the social appropriation of technology. This event had the theme 'Digital Civil Society and Journalism in Africa', and focused on the explosion of digital media use at civil society level, and its impact on mainstream media reporting. It explored linguistic diversity in the blogosphere, gender and digital media, civil society use of mapping tools and technologies used for social change.
The fifth DCI in 2010 had the theme 'Africa's underdevelopment: Digital Citizens Speak Back', and explored the role of citizen journalists in debating the state of Africa's development, and factors impacting on underdevelopment. The DCI examined the role citizen journalists can play in making information available on natural resource exploitation on the continent, as well as in disaster situations. The development benefits of mega events such as the 2010 World Cup were also debated.

2. Theme of 2011 DCI: Freedom of Information and Digital Citizens
The past year has been a momentous one for digital citizens worldwide, with online tools like Wikileaks being used to release masses of sensitive data into the public domain. Wikileaks's release of diplomatic cables and documents on the Iraq "War on Terrorism" exposed diplomatic and military agendas in great detail, and the site has been lauded as a model for fighting corruption. At the same time the site also earned the wrath of many governments, in particular the US administration, who have accused it of threatening national security and even the lives of those named in leaked documents. Some governments have censored the site, and the owners of country level domain names for Wikileaks have been harassed. Companies such as PayPal and also severed ties with the site in the wake of the diplomatic cables fallout. The African continent wasn't left
untouched, though, as several African political leaders were embarrassed by the Wikileaks diplomatic revelations.
The Wikileaks saga has raised serious questions about how free the internet actually is, and what measures need to be taken to ensure online freedom of expression. A related set of questions is whether the internet is governed in a manner that ensures freedom and security for its users. Wikileaks' activities have also raised fascinating questions about the relationship of journalists to online publishers and sources, and the possibilities and pitfalls of partnerships between the two. This year's DCI will probe both questions, and their relevance for Africa.
The diplomatic cables revealed the extent of corruption in Tunisia's government, which may well have been an aggravating factor in the revolution that swept the country early in 2011. Since then, revolutions spread across North Africa and the Middle East, leading to the removal of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt. Online social networks played a key role in these revolutions. Activists used Twitter to announce protests, Facebook to organize them, YouTube to 'broadcast' them, and Flickr to document them.
At the forefront of this were tech savvy young people, who are meant to be the most advantaged and employable citizens of the information society. Yet many have found themselves relegated to the margins of this very society through unemployment. The DCI will use the revolutions to raise questions about the nature of transformational change brought about by digital (online, social and mobile) media, and how inclusive the information society actually is in Africa. The uprisings also
raised debates whether these are Facebook or Twitter led revolutions, leading to questions about the perceived versus the actual role of technology in social change. The DCI will explore these questions too.
Communications networks have been censored in an attempt to quell the protests. In the case of Egypt, the internet was shut down. In Cameroon, MTN shut down Twitter SMS after it was ordered to do so by the government. The conduct of network providers and governments has raised questions about how committed they are to the principles of freedom of information and network neutrality. In response to greater attempts to control the flow of communications, cyberactivists have also played an increasingly important role in promoting the free flow of information, defending the right to anonymous free speech: a right that is increasingly under attack in the era of greater network surveillance. With these issues in mind, the DCI will explore ways of defending digital media freedom in times of social conflict.

Some of the questions to be dealt with include the following:
• Is network neutrality a reality in Africa, and if not what needs to be done to guarantee
network neutrality?
• What are the responsibilities of network service providers to ensure the freedom and
neutrality of the internet, especially in repressive countries?
• Under what conditions, if any, should national security and personal safety trump freedom
of information?
• How central are social networking tools to the protests in Africa?
• What role can and should digital media play in Africa in facilitating access to information,
especially information on malgovernance, corruption and other abuses of power?
• How can the safety of whistleblowers be guaranteed?
• How inclusive is the African information society?
• What role can cyberactivists play, and what can they do, in promoting freedom of expression
and information?
• What kind of internet governance is needed to ensure the communications rights of its
• Are online and mobile tools replacing, enriching or compromising journalism?
• Are journalists doing enough to defend digital media freedom, including the freedom of
their sources?
DCI will explore these questions through a series of panel discussions and workshops with experts,
eye-witnesses and digital citizens while at the same time ensuring there's enough time too for
knowledge and skills exchange through socializing – as citizens should.

3. Venue & Participants
This year the DCI will not take place in Grahamstown, but at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, close to Cape Town's city centre and V&A Waterfront. This was decided by HA management for logistical reasons. DCI is part of HA and agreed to, for this year only, move to Cape Town as well. Additional costs of the venue are covered by HA.
Accommodation ranges from B&B's, guest houses and hotels to backpackers. The Indaba is open to bloggers, podcasters, vodcasters, mobile reporters, citizen journalists, new media practitioners, new media students, online industry experts and civil society representatives. All participants can visit the
website ( ), follow us on Twitter (@DCIndaba) and receive our newsletters through dcindaba AT

4. Parallel and linked events
• Highway Africa Conference, 17 & 18 September 2011
• Pan African Conference on Access to Information in Africa (PACAIA), 19 September 2011
International Institute for ICT Journalism