Theorising the African digital public sphere: a West African odyssey

Akinbobola, Yemisi (2015) Theorising the African digital public sphere: a West African odyssey. African Journalism Studies, 36 (4). pp. 47-65. ISSN 2374-3670

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This theoretical discussion about the impact of information and communication technologies on journalistic practices and the digital public spheres in West Africa, asks two key questions: 1) To what extent does the ICT-enabled impact on journalism practice contribute to the rejuvenation of the public sphere in African societies, and 2) What are the methodological changes of investigating these contributions? Scholars have argued that advances in ICTs can be used to initiate alternative forms of news production and citizen engagement that would either augment the efforts of the mainstream news media in African countries or, if need be, bypass the challenges they face. This argument sits well within current debates about the use and impact of ICTs on news consumption, journalistic practices, and the expansion of the public sphere. As many African countries still aspire towards functioning and modern democratic structures, there is a clear need for further academic discussion on, and empirical research into, this technology-led transformation of journalism. The connection of these challenges with the emancipation of the public sphere is evident, and thus we arrive at the questions this article addresses by drawing on published literature of both theoretical and empirical contexts, as well as the author’s observations and research.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
Date: 20 December 2015
Uncontrolled Keywords: access, citizen engagement, diaspora media, digital public sphere, Habermasian public sphere, journalistic practices
Subjects: L300 Sociology
P300 Media studies
P500 Journalism
T500 African studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA34: Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management
Depositing User: Oluyemisi Akinbobola
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2019 10:38
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2020 08:51

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