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By Susana Salgado

This well timed booklet fills a major hole within the literature at the impact of the web and new media on Portuguese conversing African international locations. in line with broad box paintings through the sector the writer examines the impression of the net within the transition to democracy in Africa, and asks even if there are new chances for well known activism to emerge from evolving conversation environments and media systems.

The booklet analyses the various varieties of democracy, the idea that of improvement, and addresses the controversy in regards to the courting among democracy and improvement and explores the impression of the media within the democratization approach, the guarantees that electronic media deliver to this approach and to improvement, and the results of the African electronic divide. In sure international locations during this area democracy and autonomous information media are of their infancy yet are beginning to take carry, giving a superb chance to monitor the dynamics of civil society and the effect of elevated freedom, new balloting powers and new media specifically. The publication bargains vital insights into the jobs and services that the media often, and the web particularly, can practice within the construction of a extra democratic society, in addition to in empowering and teaching electorate in democratic values.

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Additional info for The Internet and Democracy Building in Lusophone African Countries

Sample text

On one hand, it makes reference to the struggle against poverty and the strategies to improve means of subsistence. In several countries in Africa (as in other places in the world), politics is the easiest way to have access to wealth, to public resources as well as to a good salary, a good house and car, etc. In Sao Tome and Principe, for example, there are reported cases of politicians who campaign during election periods but do not actually run for office because their main objective is to sell “their votes” (the votes and support they were able to raise) to better placed candidates (see Chapter 7 for more details on the Santomean case).

While some scholars prefer to highlight the crucial functions of providing information and monitoring the political authorities, others draw attention to the fact that the media might be disruptive in processes of democracy construction. For instance, Bennett (1998) argues that the media make an important contribution in the breakdown of autocratic regimes, but are obstructive to the consolidation of the new order. Ibelema draws attention to the role that government-owned media plays, particularly in the broadcasting sector, and to the fact that not much should be expected of them, because “rather than facilitate the 26 The Internet and Democracy Building in Lusophone African Countries development of democracy, especially through the detached enlightenment of the populace, most such stations subvert democracy by continuing to be unabashed propagandists for whoever is in power” (2008: 4–5).

Given the low levels of Internet penetration in Sub-Saharan African countries, the reach of these websites may be very limited. However, it is important to note that even when these online tools do not reach most of the population directly, their messages can still be conveyed to a larger number of people through journalists and opinion leaders who are usually not only consumers, but also producers of these types of websites. A different problem is caused by the concentration of media outlets in the hands of some powerful political and economic actors, which generally results in lack of overall pluralism, because there is less diversity of opinion in the public sphere, and often also attempts to control and manipulate public opinion.

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