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09 February 2007


Ansbert Ngurumo

The report could not have come out at a better moment. But how do we tackle African poverty through the media without empowering the media? I know no government in Africa that is media-friendly. They are all media muzzlers. Very few media houses are strong enough to run their own programmes without political intervention, or without need for financial back up from government in the form of adverts. Most media operate in environments lacking the freedom of information acts; and where they are in place, it is just by name - the contents of the acts have nothing to do with freedom at all! One question comes up: where and how do we start?

Wairagala Wakabi

Those are very interesting comments from Ansbert Ngurumo, comments that I wish to share. As Murali poses the question of tackling African poverty through the media, we should perhaps first be tackling the poverty in African media before we engage in any talk about media doing this or enabling that. African media workers are among the worst employees in many African countries, which severely affects their professionalism. It is merely a matter of survival for several of them. Add to that the fact that many of them are not very well educated, are hardly facilitated, work for media owners who think issues do not sell, and you tell me whether the media can play the role of enabling poverty reduction. So, like Ngurumo posits, we need to empower the media first then expect them to play these noble roles Murali's posting is talking about.

Ansbert Ngurumo


Wakabi and I have set the ball rolling on the discussion about empowering the media. I hope this is the new debate that we all need to partake. Do bring up your comments and suggestions on how to EMPOWER them - viable suggestions that will end this lip service and turn it into action. Murali, you may lead this debate for action, by probably suggesting where and how to start. We are waiting.


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