BACKGROUND TO THE FIRST SEMINAR, APRIL 2000
The 1990s witnessed significant shifts in the political economy of the Southern African media - newspaper, broadcasting, cinema and telecommunications.
African broadcasting traditionally has been considered part of the civil service. However, since 1990, Southern African governments re-regulated the airwaves permitting private satellite transmission via both encryption and free-to-air, in addition to public service and commercial channels. In print, state-owned newspapers are now in competition with commercial ventures, some of which are funded by global interests. In telecommunications, South Africa's Telkom is playing a major role in systematising sub-continental infrastructures, and leading the trends towards privatisation, while private cellular providers offer what is increasingly seen as a parallel telephony service,
often in partnership with the parastatal landline providers. Countries previously without TV are now planning its introduction (eg. Malawi and Botswana), while in all SADC (Southern AfricanDevelopment Community) countries issues of freedom of the press have been hotly reignited by de- and re-regulation policies, liberalisation of national economies, and privatisation.
In general terms, the following processes are under way;
a) globalisation of ownership and control, what with foreign interests purchasing shares in local media; and local media gaining international interests;
b) black empowerment, especially in South Africa, whereby union-dominated capital now owns shares in a variety of major media industries.
c) state controlled media are coming into conflict with privately run media, which are more critical of government, and which highlight freedom of speech issues;
c) privatisation, whereby governments have sold off blocs of shares to commercial investors - local and international;
d) in debates around the freedom of the press, some countries are progressive beacons when compared to regressive processes occurring in other countries.
Despite considerable media and cultural research being conducted in and on each of the SADC countries, little of it evidences a transnational regional emphasis, where the transnational interrelations are critically examined. The research tends to be nation-specific, and therefore is lacking in consideration of the broader regional processes now impacting the SADC area. National media policy is increasingly being shaped by processes and organisations operating at regional and international scales. Papers which deal with these broader relationships will receive preference in selection.
A critical and regionally integrated discussion of transnational issues relating to political economy of the Southern African media, and on methods of analysis, theory and transnationalism, and culture and the political economy of globalisation, was inaugurated at the April 2000 Seminar. (See below for publications arising out of the 2000 Seminar.)
Sponsors of the first Seminar included the World Association for Christian Communication (London), the National Research Foundation (Pretoria), Telkom (South Africa) and Independent Newspapers KwaZulu-Natal.
We hope to obtain contributions from at least one scholar from each of the SADC countries, as well as overseas scholars.
Applicants are requested to submit a one page Abstract, which will be considered by a selection committee comprising members from the Working Group. Final papers must be submitted on disc and hard copy prior to the Seminar for precirculation. A submission date will be announced later.
The Seminar of no more than 30 will be closed to those selected to participate as contributors, discussants and observers. We aim to build on the work of the first seminar, so topics proposed should be written with this in mind. (See below for articles and book chapters arising out of the April 2000 Seminar.)
BUDGET AND LOCATION
Location of the Seminar will be University of Natal, Durban.
Travel and board and lodging costs of successful SADC resident African contributors will be covered where possible. Preference will be given to African scholars resident in the SADC area, but all interested should apply. Overseas scholars, if their proposals are accepted, will need to fund themselves. However, we suggest that delegates also secure their own sources of funding in case the amount raised by us is less than anticipated.
The National Research Foundation has confirmed funding for 2001, but we have not yet had word of the actual amount to be allocated to the Project. This circular is, however, being sent now to get preparations for the seminar moving.
Papers accepted will be refereed for possible publication in the new AcademicBooks series on "Critical Studies on African Media and Culture", and Critical Arts, amongst other publications, 2002/3.
THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN AND SOUTH-SOUTH WORKING GROUP
More information on the Southern African and South-South Working Group, formed under the auspices of CMS and the National Research Foundation in April 2000, can be found on the CMS website: www.und.ac.za/und/ccms - Go to the "Political Economy" hyperlink.
At the 2000 Seminar the following research aims of the Working Group were identified:
- To promote and maintain regional and international research linkages
- To develop and enhance expertise within the disciplines of media and cultural studies, communication and journalism.
- To contribute to the generation of new knowledge
- To contribute to democratisation and improved quality of life by means of research produced
- To establish and maintain formal and informal research training networks, partnerships and affiliations
- To provide international research and educational opportunities for graduate students
Topics to be researched by the Working Group include:
- political economy and media ownership
- media policy and media regulation
- gender, identity and representation
- public service and community broadcasting
- new technologies and telecommunications
- intercultural studies
- youth and media
- cultural industries / cultural tourism
Building on the excellence of the studies presented at the 2000 Seminar, the 2001 Seminar hopes to develop a transnational picture of media and democracy in Southern Africa. This mapping exercise is aimed at facilitating real outcomes for media,
democracy and the citizens residing in the SADC area.
PUBLICATIONS ARISING OUT OF THE APRIL 2000 SEMINAR
1. BOOK: "Media, Democracy and Renewal in Southern Africa"
Editors: Keyan Tomaselli, Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies (CMS), University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, and Hopeton Dunn, Senior Lecturer, Caribbean Institute for Media and Communication, University of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica,
The book, to be published in 2001 by iAcademicbBooks, Denver, is one of three interrelated publications to appear from the April 2000 International Research Seminar on Political Economy of the Southern African Media. It contains theory-based papers applied to the Southern African social context. The book is designed to link global, regional and national issues in terms of theories of political economy. (See Tomaselli and Dunn's Introduction to the MEDIA DEVELOPMENT issue for further information.)
Chapters have an implicit and/or explicit political economy theoretical framework within which empirical discussion about national and transnational media industries is contextualised. The readership of the book is expected to be third level and graduate students, media workers, NGOs, academics, policy specialists and technocrats.
"MEDIA, DEMOCRACY AND RENEWAL IN SOUTHERN AFRICA"
Publisher: iAcademicBooks, 191 University Boulevard #675, Denver, CO 80206, USA. Fax: 1(303) 399-1002 (Thanks to WACC, Telkom and NRF for sponsorship)
-- Robert Kriger, International Science Liaison, National Research Foundation, Pretoria, South Africa
-- Pradip Thomas, World Association for Christian Communication, London
Reform and Outreach: rethinking political economy of the Southern African Media. Introduction to sections and chapters.-- Keyan Tomaselli and Hopeton Dunn
SECTION A: Issues of Policy and Legislation
Is No Policy a Policy Goal?
-- John Barker, Media Institute of Southern Africa, MISA, Windhoek, Namibia / (Now at Article 19)
`Talk Left, Act Right': What constitutes `Transformation' in South African Media.
-- Jane Duncan, Freedom of Expression Institute, Johannesburg.
Media, Scale and Democratisation
-- Clive Barnett, Geography, University of Bristol, UK / CMS Natal University Visiting Fellow
Facing the Digital Millennium: a comparative analysis of communication, culture and globalisation in South Africa and the Anglophone Caribbean -- Hopeton Dunn
SECTION B: Access, Empowerment and Democratisation
Transformation, Nation-Building and the South African Media, 1993-1990
-- Ruth Teer-Tomaselli and Keyan Tomaselli, Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies, University of Natal, Durban.
De-Racialisation, Democracy and Development: Transformation of the South African Media, 1994-2000.
-- Guy Berger, Journalism, Rhodes University, South Africa
Consumer Magazines for Black South Africans: Towards a cultural economy of the South African (print) media
-- Sonja Laden, Poetics and Semiotics, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Gender and Race in South African Media Institutions. Experiences
of Affirmative Action and Gender Sensitivity
-- Farhana Goga, Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies, University of Natal, Durban.
Who is the `Community' in Community Radio: A case study of community radios in Durban
-- Ruth Teer-Tomaselli, CMS, University of Natal, Durban
This section links issues of structuration to human responses and agency.
Media Democracy in Botswana: The Kgotla as Myth. Practice and post-colonial communication paradigm
-- David Kerr, English, University of Botswana
Scales of Democracy in Botswana: Widening the Kgotla Circle.
-- Deidre Donnely, Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies, University of Natal, Durban.
Porous Borders and the Changing Geography of Social Relations: Encountering the `Other'
-- Gibson Boloka, Media and Literary Studies, University of the North / CMS, University of Natal, Durban.
The `Other' and Media: the Political Economy of Identity
-- Anthea Simoes, Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies, University of Natal.
Freedom of Speech-Freedom of Information, the Unbalanced Equation
-- Moira Chimombo, Linguistics, University of Malawi
Mass Media and Democratisation of Politics and Society: Lessens From Zimbabwe
-- James Zaffiro, Central College, Iowa.
The Economy and Organisation of the So-Called `Independent Press' in Southern Africa - the case of Zimbabwe
-- Helge Ronning, Media and Communication, University of Oslo, Norway
The Role of Civil Society in the Development of Democratic Media in Namibia.
-- Andy Mason, Graduate Programme in Cultural and Media Studies.
2. JOURNAL: MEDIA DEVELOPMENT (2001/2)
Pradip Thomas and Philip Lee, World Association for Christian Communication, London
Reform and Outreach: Analysing Southern African Media
-- Keyan Tomaselli and Hopeton Dunn
Globalisation and its Effects on Independent Media
-- Teresa Groetan and Njord V Svendsen, University of Natal
NewsBreak Breaks New Ground in Telecommunication
-- Judy Sandison, South African Broadcasting Corporation
The Politics of Press Freedom and the National Economy of Swaziland
-- Matt Mogekwu, University of Swaziland
Privatisation of the Media in Lesotho: Its Relevance in Issues of National Survival and Development
-- Patrick Bereng, MISA (Lesotho)
`Free for All': Myth or Reality?' The case of Zimbabwe's media
-- Susan Manhando, Open University of Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean Mass Media Trust - an experiment that failed
- Tim Nyahunzvi, MISA (Harare, Zimbabwe)
The Contradictions of De-regulation: New state media monopolies in Namibia
- Kaitira Kandjii, MISA (Windhoek, Namibia)
Multichoice in Zambian Broadcasting: Choice? Whose choice?
-- Fackson Banda, Panos, Lusaka, Zambia.
Plurality and Power Relations: An Analysis of the Political Economy of Zambian Broadcasting
- Bright Phiri and Deanne Powers, University of Natal
Promoting a Regional Film Industry: The African Script Development Fund
- Ben Zulu, African Script Development Fund (Harare)
3. OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Independent News and Public Responsibility: The case of the African Eye News Service
- Derek Forbes, Communication, University of the North-West, South Africa. Forthcoming, ArtsResearch, June 2001 (Forthcoming)
South African Public Service Broadcasting: Negotiating Global and Local Challenges", Artsresearch, 11, 2000, 77-86.
Kubi Rama, Journalism, ML Sultan Technikon / Natal University
Cultural Economy and the South African Print Media
-- Prosper Luthuli, University of Natal, Critical Arts,
Cultural Economy - Theme issue of Critical arts to be edited by Sonja Laden.
For further information please contact