Mainstream and Broadcast Media

The Role of New Media in the Iranian Elections

Posted by PrabhasPokharel on Aug 17, 2009
The Role of New Media in the Iranian Elections data sheet 2539 Views
Center for International Media Assistance
Publication Date: 
Aug 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

New media technologies played a major role in the events leading up to and following the 2009 Iranian elections and are likely to continue to have a tremendous impact. Social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogging have changed the way Iranian citizens communicate with each other as well as with the outside world. From cell phone cameras capturing scenes of violence that otherwise would go unreported to Twitter feeds used to organize massive protests, new media have forever changed the nature of citizen participation, not just in Iran, but throughout the world.

Despite the impact of these technologies during the Iranian elections, relatively little definitive information has been gathered about their specific role in the elections and subsequent protests. What are the implications of these new technologies for democracy in Iran? How have both the opposition and the government used these new tools against each other in what some call an “Internet battlefield”? Do the users of new media adequately represent the Iranian population? How has the Iranian government attempted to censor or curb the use of these new tools? 

In presentations and discussions during a panel discussion held by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), new media practitioners, Iran specialists, and interested observers attempted to clarify the role of new media in the Iranian elections and the implications of these technologies for future democratic movements.

Radio and ICT in West Africa: Connectivity and Use

Posted by PrabhasPokharel on Aug 11, 2009
Radio and ICT in West Africa: Connectivity and Use data sheet 2790 Views
Malick Ndiaye, Kwami Ahiabenu II, Abdourahame Ousmane, Hippolyte Djiwan, et. al
Publication Date: 
Oct 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Radio remains the most appropriate communication medium for social and development communication in Africa. This study consists of carrying out a base-line study of West African radio connectivity to ICT (internet, satellite, computer, digital storage tools, etc.), analyzing the uses implemented, identifying the constraints and opportunities, and making recommendations to the different stakeholders.

The study concentrates on seven (7) targeted countries (Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso & Niger) and concerns all radio stations (public, community, commercial and religious). Two hundred and twenty (220) radio stations took part in the survey. The main tools of research used were questionnaires, interviews and documentary analysis.

The results reveal that overall the average rate of access to the internet by radio stations in the seven (7) countries studied is 51.8 %, with a large disparity according to the country and type of radio. Indeed, while the rate of connectivity is 72.2% for private commercial radio on the one hand, it is limited to 31.5%
for community or non-profit making radio. On the other hand, at a country-wide level, Ghanaian radio has a 93.5% connectivity rate, Senegalese radio 89.7%, whilst only 20% of radio stations in Sierra Leone are connected. In Ghana and Senegal, nearly all commercial radio stations are connected. In addition, 72.7% of Senegalese community radio stations have access to the internet (75% of them have an ADSLline), in contrast to only 8.3% of Nigerien community stations.

The rate of connectivity for all radio stations in Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali, is 61.5%, 55% and 34% respectively. It is thanks to ADSLtechnology that the majority of stations in the sub-region are connected, in particular Senegal, where more than 92 % of stations have access to the worldwide network. As illustrated by the cost of internet access, in certain countries internet use has become more and more accessible, but is limited to regions with good infrastructure.

The strong mobile phone penetration on the continent allows stations to use it as an indispensable tool for reporting and communicating with listeners; this has contributed to today’s large number of radio listeners.
Even though around seventy (70) radio websites have been identified (the majority of them with domain names matching the names of the stations), their presence remains minimal and precarious on the internet. In most countries, live broadcasts on the internet are very unstable (streaming is usually inaccessible) or non-existent, despite being advertised. In addition, a large number of websites have very few - or even no - content.

Mobile value-added services, in particular SMS, used by 83.8% of stations surveyed, have had great success amongst the local population. These new services are considered important tools of interaction between radio stations and listeners and are also a potential source of substantial revenue for radio business.

Convergence between ICTs and radio has brought about results including new multi-use supports which contribute to making radio programmes accessible everywhere throughout the world, and whose coverage, until recently was limited by FM transmitter capacity.  The study has shown that in the countries concerned, training in ICTs is not done regularly. In fact, a quarter of the radio stations surveyed stated that their employees have never followed any training. This explains the low level of ICT skills which greatly limits the development of digital products and services in radio stations. Due either to a lack of information or familiarity with ICT, it has also been observed that there is some confusion between free and proprietary software, and even about what kind of internet connection the radio station has.

How Connected are West African Radio Stations? How Mobile?

Posted by PrabhasPokharel on Aug 11, 2009

Panos Institute West Africa released a report in October 2008 exploring the connectivity of West African Radio Stations to the Internet, and their use of other information and communication technology including integration with mobile. The report presents results of a survey that was conducted in 220 radio stations in Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Radio, which "remains the most appropriate communication medium for social and development communication in Africa", does not have great online presence, but has higher use of mobile phone technology. The results vary drastically with type of radio station and the country it is operating in.

Some data from the report:

The Kenyan 2007 Elections and Their Aftermath: The Role of Media and Communication

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 13, 2009
The Kenyan 2007 Elections and Their Aftermath: The Role of Media and Communication data sheet 3480 Views
Abdi, Jamal; Deane, James
Publication Date: 
Apr 2008
Publication Type: 

This 16-page policy briefing from the BBC World Trust Service analyses the role of the media in the Kenyan [January 2008] post-election violence. It is designed to enable an understanding of what has happened in Kenya in the belief that these issues have important policy implications and consequences in many countries. It situates its analysis within debates on democratic governance and poverty in order to contribute to a process of extracting lessons from the crisis. The briefing examines political polarity in the media and its function as a political tool. It discusses the inciting of violence and the role of the local language or vernacular media, as well as the media's role in calming the violence. "The role of the media in Kenya's violence has ...raised questions of whether media can be too free in fragile states such as Kenya....[The] briefing argues that the role of the local language media during the crisis was the product of a chaotic regulatory policy and the lack of training - especially of talk show hosts, whose programmes provided the platform for most of the hate speech....It argues that many local language radio [stations] played a role in calming tensions as well as inflaming them, and could be a powerful mechanism for reconciliation."

The Promise of Ubiquity: The Promise and the Challenge of Mobile Media

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 04, 2009

Originally published on the PBS blog Mediashift.

Mobile phones are everywhere. They have long surpassed the Internet in number of users, and in some parts of the world, mobile phones now rival television in reach. The mobile tech economy (at least until recently) was booming with telcoms and handset manufacturers fiercely competing in emerging markets, and software giants like Microsoft and Google entering the mobile industry in earnest. There are now somewhere between 3.5 billion and 4 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, with the fastest growth happening in developing countries.

Gaza Update: Mapping and Citizen Reporting Via SMS on Al Jazeera

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 03, 2009

Al Jazeera launched a new site today for citizens in Gaza to report incidences of various kinds in Gaza via SMS and Twitter. The deployment is using Ushahidi and Souktel's SMS gateway, one of the few able to deliver SMS in Gaza.  In this latest citizen journalism effort, Al Jazeera is both mapping reports from its own journalists and incidences reported by the public.  So far, there are few citizens texting in, however; the majority of the content consists of Al Jazeera news reports for now.  Al Jazeera and its new media team are doing a great job, however, in their labs  -- very impressive innovations coming from the Arab satellite news service and its New Media folks like Ryaad M, for example. 

MobileActive at the Global Forum for Media Development and 1st M4D Conference

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 10, 2008

I just came from the Global Forum for Media Development an Athens, Greece, where there is a lot of interest in how to use mobiles in media and journalism trainings, and in supporting citizen media efforts. I presented briefly our most recent work, A Mobile Voice, that describes how mobiles are used in citizen media. The dicsussions were lively and there were lots of ideas to take this work further.  Specifically needed are journalism trainings and better toolkits and how-to materials that detail what tools and approaches work where. Security was also of great concern, and participants were eager to learn more about mobile security for media and activists. Athens is, of course, also experiencing social turmoil right now, so I engaged in a bit of citizen journalism on Twitter on my own, interviewing police and demonstrators during the night. 

Mobiles and News Gathering at Al Jazeera

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Oct 28, 2008

With the advent of ubiquitous mobile phones recording video, audio, and photos and easily connecting to a worldwide audience, everyone has the potential to become a citizen reporter on the spot, as news and events are happening.  Traditional news organizations (aka mainstream media) are struggling to keep up and find relevance among the new voices from around the world.  Al Jazeera, the Arab news company (and arguably not exactly mainstream media) has been testing mobile phones with its reporters and for its media coverage. Safdar Mustafa, head of Al Jazeera's mobile media unit, explains how in this coverage from MobileActive08.

More videos are on the MobileActive YouTube channel.

Documenting MobileActive '08

Posted by sharakarasic on Oct 14, 2008

It's amazing working with a team of African student citizen journalists to document MobileActive '08. Students are from CSDF and Rhodes University and are from countries including South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia. Blogging of sessions was divided up according to a students' particular interest in gender or democracy or citizen journalism. They're certainly getting a lot of on-the-job training, and MobileActive is lucky to have their perception and insight.

Mobile Reporting in Africa: Guest Blogger Erik Hersman

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jul 29, 2008

For the last year there has been quite a bit of talk about mobile phone reporting in Africa. For good reason too, since this lowers the technology barrier to getting stories out of hard-to-reach places. Imagine, all you need to do is find a journalist and equip them with an adequate mobile phone Now you can record interviews in video and audio, take pictures and upload in almost any part of the continent.

News Headlines Via SMS

Posted by CorinneRamey on May 31, 2008

Dr. Joel Selanikio believes in the value of the news. "It's one of my core beliefs that the more people know, the better decisions people are going to make," he said. Selanikio, the director of, was recently awarded a Knight News Challenge grant for a project that distributes news on mobile phones.

Selanikio sat down with MobileActive for a discussion about his project. Selanikio isn't new to mobile phones. As director of, he has used mobile phones for data collection with EpiSurveyor (read more about this in Wireless for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use.) He is also part of a consortium on mobile data collection, OpenROSA.

From Datadyne via BBC: The invisible computer revolution

Posted by robertsonadams on Feb 27, 2008

Jan. 17, 2008 from

If I had told you ten years ago that by the end of 2007 there would be an international network of wirelessly-connected computers throughout the developing world, you might well have said it wasn't possible.

I would probably have said the same, but as it turns out we would have been wrong: it was possible, and it was created, and it continues to expand, not through Non-Governmental Organisations or charity or development grants but through the market, with much of it financed by some of the poorest people on the planet.

I am talking, of course, about the mobile phone network.

Along with the internet, with which it is rapidly merging, this is the most astonishing technology story of our time, and one that has the power to revolutionise access to information across the developing world.

Unfortunately, rich country biases limit understanding of this amazing phenomenon: for those in North America or Western Europe the cell phone is primarily or uniquely a phone designed to make voice calls.