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Conference organised by the Africa Media Centre

Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI),

International speakers will convene at the University of Westminster on 15 June 2012 for a one-day conference organised by the Africa Media Centre to debate how new technologies increasingly play a prominent role in the production and exchange of information. The conference recognises how, in spite of their limited penetration in Africa, new information technologies are beginning to have a noticeable effect on politics, activism, culture, entertainment and many other facets of public and private life. There is new optimism and increased usage of the Internet and of mobile devices, a sharp rise in the number of influential blogs and news sites and mounting evidence of social media that are more than tools for self-presentation throughout Africa. It is also clear that there is overreliance of major African newspapers, radio and television on websites for a broader and more diverse reach in ways that suggest a paradigm shift and the alteration of social values in communication practices today. Evolving media policies, attitudes and use patterns in Africa and the Global South remarkably indicate that the benefits of ICTs and New Media are not confined to the Global North alone.

Other speakers include:

Professor Fackson Banda, UNESCO, France (TBC)
Professor Nathalie Hyde-Clarke, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Professor Ralph Akinfeleye, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Professor Terje Skerjdal, Gimlekollen School of Journalism, Norway
Dr. Fred Mudhai, Coventry University, UK
Dr Isah Emmanuel Momoh, Pan African University, Lagos, Nigeria
Dr. Isabella Rega, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland
Dr.Vincenzo Cavallo, Cultural Video Foundation, Kenya
Amy O'Donnell, Radio Project Manager, FrontlineSMS: Radio
Birgitte Jallov, Independent consultant and author of ‘Empowerment Radio – Voices building a community'

Key questions to be discussed include how new forms of communication technologies have advanced or subverted social change in Africa. The conference brings together scholars from diverse disciplines to collectively explore the thematic issue of the transforming role of ICTs and new media in Africa. We are concerned to bring to the fore sub-themes of changing production environments, shifts in funding mechanisms, the role of audiences/users, regulation debates and the ICTs’ potential for human development. Wikileaks have, for example, shown how African governments have struggled to maintain transparency and uphold their citizens’ right to information.

The Arab Spring and other manifestations of tension and struggle among governments, citizens and terrorists, call for debates on social transformation in the context of new media and ICTs. To address these and similar issues relating to the theorisation of the role and influence of new media technologies will focus on many cases from across Africa.

Registration

This one day conference will take place on Friday 15 June 2012. The fee for registration (which applies to all participants, including presenters) will be £95 with a concessionary rate of £45 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments and administration costs.

Download the registration form here