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Mar 27, 2014, 9:39 AM
It seems that some African governments now appreciate the value of press freedom and freedom of expression.
This gradual U-turn, on the surface, looks surreal because African governments are notorious for their particular ruthlessness against the press. But it is an indication of the shape of things to come.
Almost on a daily basis across the continent, journalists and media workers are threatened, intimidated, assaulted, arrested, or even killed with impunity.
In some cases, governments with pretence to democracy enact draconian laws to muzzle the press. Under such laws, journalists, free expression advocates, or opposition politicians, can be taken before the law on charges that border on the absurd.
On top of that, media houses are randomly closed down without regard for the resultant economic hardship for the employees - yet the same governments enjoy setting themselves up as champions of poverty alleviation. All of these has made journalism practice in
But African journalism is known to have survived all sorts of authoritarianism and emerged better able to crusade for an open society characterized by accountability, transparency, good governance, and the rule of law.
Evidently, journalism is beyond human destruction because it is as indispensable to governance, even autocratic ones, as the air we breathe.
It is our view that only a pluralistic, diverse and independent media that can produce the kind of criticism that draws resentment or reprisals, albeit for the public good. Where the press is gagged, the people resort to the grapevine for information, which has proven to be both dangerous and impossible.
The addiction to online newspapers for the real news in most of
More important, a pluralistic, diverse and independent media is catalyst for development. It is only when the people are properly informed that they can be counted upon to throw their weight wholeheartedly behind national efforts.
And the type of enlightenment that leads to greater patriotism and productivity is not based on propaganda. Propaganda is known to have a short life span. The case of the former
This is the new path for
“I submit to you if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
Martin Luther King