Mobile Reporters in Africa: Guest Blog from AfricaNews' Mobile Voices

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Aug 14, 2007

We are pleased to welcome Bart Lacroix to He will be writing an occasional blog on AfricaNews' Voices of Africa project, an experiment in mobile citizen reporting. AfricaNews currently has three citizen reporters covering stories in their using mobile countries, phones to produce video footage, written reports and photographs.

Using GPRS-enabled phones, on-the-ground citizens reporters don’t need an internet connection at all - only mobile coverage - to send video, voice, and text. The Voices of Africa is deploying reporters in Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya to date who are using Nokia E61i phones to send in their stories. These countries have, admittedly, better mobile coverage than others, so are good for this pilot project. Bart will tell us how it's going, what citizens are reporting on, and what they are learning about content and technical production before sacaling up the project.

A bit of background from AfricaNews' press release:

Africa is witnessing impressive growth in the development and use of mobile communication networks and the Internet. This development is changing the face of media and the way people are informed. Open communication and uncensored exchange of opinions are helping to build transparent societies. This serves good governance and helps to build stronger democracies. Citizen journalism is the act of individuals playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and publishing news.

Analysis of ITU (International Telecommunication Union, 2007) shows that, in Africa, digital opportunity is undoubtedly mobile. Mobile phones now outnumber fixed lines by five to one, a ratio that is even higher in sub-Saharan Africa, where nine out of ten subscribers use a mobile. As a region, Africa's mobile market has been the fastest-growing market in the world, averaging 50% growth per year since 2000.

The technology partner of the mobile reporters project is SKOEPS, a Dutch company that runs a site consisting entirely of eyewitness images. People capture news events with their phones and send the pictures and videos directly to the website.

We'll be looking forward to hearing more from Africe News' Voices of Africa and the team there.

Picture 2.png

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br> <b><i><blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options