Panel discussion on 'Challenges of Diaspora Media and its Development'
Panel discussion held on 'The Challenges of Diaspora Media and its Development'. Speakers include Mike McCahill of Sunday Telegraph, Solomon Mugera of BBC, Tim Williams of Panos London, Eric Chinje of Mo Ibrahim Foundation amongst others.
Speakers at the panel discussion included Firoze Manje (Editor in Chief, Pambazuka News / Commissioning Editor, Pambazuka Press), Frances Williams (Reconnect Africa Magazine), Mike McCahill (Film Critic, Sunday Telegraph), Solomon Mugera (Africa Editor, BBC) Hassan Omar Dudu (Somali Economic Forum); Tim Williams (Senior Advisor on Media Development, Panos London), Eric Chinje (Director of Strategic Communications, Mo Ibrahim Foundation) Manoah Isipisu (Deputy Director of Communications, Commonwealth Secretariat), Hassan Musa Dudde (Somali Economic Forum) and was chaired by Agnes Gitau of the London Africa Media Network.
The discussion was jointly organised with the London Africa Media Network and hosted at SOAS.
The tremendous growth in African media during the last 15 years can be attributed to many factors, including notable improvements in systems of governance across the globe that have allowed for the freedom of press; rapid economic growth; the privatisation of several government-run media outlets; and undisputedly, the continuing rise in technology and connectivity on the continent - the most notable catalyst to Africa’s socio-economic expansion.
The opening up of the media industry in Africa paved way for a related interest in the Diaspora as migrants living abroad grappled with identity issues in their ‘homes away from home.’ Mainstream media in the UK and elsewhere in the West has traditionally delivered a picture of Africa as a place of war, poverty, famine and disease, and, more recently, as an international security challenge. The lack of balanced representation of the continent in western mainstream media created a vacuum, which African entrepreneurs were quick to fill by setting up multiple radio and TV stations.
The various Diaspora media outlets that have sprung up are doing their best to address the needs of the African Diaspora as well as rake in some income. However, the jury is still out on whether or not they have or are achieving these dreams. Faced with various obstacles such us funding, professionalism, quality content, originality, Diaspora media outlets continue to grow and impact the African community in the UK greatly.
The forum will engage the UK-Africa Diaspora in its deliberations touching on some key issues including: UK Media Distribution; impact of Diaspora Media outlets on National cohesion; the need for identity (language, culture, Interpretation); addressing cultural diversity through media; quality control, programming and competition; regulation (ethical perceptions and vetting professionalism); technological support and enhancement (Social networks); sustainability (funding and fair distribution); the way forward.