Media and policy Presentation at Highway Africa 13

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Media and policy Presentation at Highway Africa 13 Sept 2005 Guy Berger

Media and policy Presentation at Highway Africa 13 Sept 2005 Guy Berger

“ National media have helped bring about, and to maintain, a level of democracy

“ National media have helped bring about, and to maintain, a level of democracy in their respective states. Yet little sign of media deepening a democratic role to be a vital link in public policy processes w. r. t. the African Information Society. Yet, I. S. policies impact back on media, but the two hands (media & policy) aren’t feeding into each other.

“ FINDING: The media is silent in terms of: • relevant policy agenda-setting •

“ FINDING: The media is silent in terms of: • relevant policy agenda-setting • policy debate and formulation, • implementation, • monitoring, and • review.

Countries covered: • • • Kenya Mozambique DRC Nigeria Ethiopia Senegal by Highway Africa,

Countries covered: • • • Kenya Mozambique DRC Nigeria Ethiopia Senegal by Highway Africa, sponsored by Catia

Aims • Quantity of coverage • Quality of coverage: – Accurate? – Proactive &

Aims • Quantity of coverage • Quality of coverage: – Accurate? – Proactive & independent? • Which actors reflected? • Technicist? Economistic? • Utility: base-line data for interventions

Methodology • Country-based researchers • Mainstream media • Content analysis + interviews • Event-focused

Methodology • Country-based researchers • Mainstream media • Content analysis + interviews • Event-focused • Theoretically-informed

THE THEORY: • the public opinion • the media • policy people

THE THEORY: • the public opinion • the media • policy people

Specific players: • media: different platforms, premier outlets, § public: general public, civil society

Specific players: • media: different platforms, premier outlets, § public: general public, civil society groups incl NGOs, business, global forces, individuals. § policy people: the makers and the implementers. § Qtn: who drives the process?

Five models of how the relationship works: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Liberal democratic

Five models of how the relationship works: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Liberal democratic Muck-raker model Bypassing civil society Manipulation model Propaganda picture

1. Liberal democratic model MEDIA 2 COVERAGE 1 PUBLIC + OPINION GOVT RESPONDS 3

1. Liberal democratic model MEDIA 2 COVERAGE 1 PUBLIC + OPINION GOVT RESPONDS 3 i. e. The public is the active source of public opinion eg. Aids activists win coverage, affect govt

2. Muckraker model PUBLIC + OPINION 1 2 MEDIA COVERAGE GOVT RESPONDS 3 i.

2. Muckraker model PUBLIC + OPINION 1 2 MEDIA COVERAGE GOVT RESPONDS 3 i. e. Media coverage is active source of public opinion eg. Exposure of child abuse

3. Bypassing Civil Society 2 GOVT RESPONDS 1 MEDIA COVERAGE = “PUBLIC OPINION” i.

3. Bypassing Civil Society 2 GOVT RESPONDS 1 MEDIA COVERAGE = “PUBLIC OPINION” i. e. Media impacts on govt, irrespective of real public opinion eg. Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky

4. Manipulation model 2 MEDIA COVERAGE 1 GOVT INITIATES PUBLIC + OPINION 3 i.

4. Manipulation model 2 MEDIA COVERAGE 1 GOVT INITIATES PUBLIC + OPINION 3 i. e. Government is the originator of public opinion eg. Iraq war in US, Info scandal, discredit leader’s rivals

5. Propaganda picture MEDIA COVERAGE 1 2 GOVT INITIATES i. e. Government is the

5. Propaganda picture MEDIA COVERAGE 1 2 GOVT INITIATES i. e. Government is the originator, circuit incomplete eg. media coverage pleases govt, but ignored by public

Five models of how the relationship works: 1. Liberal dem – people-driven 2. Muckraker

Five models of how the relationship works: 1. Liberal dem – people-driven 2. Muckraker model – media-driven 3. Bypassing civil society – media< ->govt 4. Manipulation model – govt-driven 5. Propaganda picture – govt-driven

Models for Info Society policy: 1. Lib dem – people-driven: • public access policies

Models for Info Society policy: 1. Lib dem – people-driven: • public access policies 2. Muck-raker– media-driven: • airwaves get freed 3. Bypass – media<->govt: • licensing regime 4. Manipulation – govt-driven: • privatising telco 5. Propaganda – govt-driven: • sunshine imagery

Summing up (a): • Policy People may infer Public Opinion from media, • and

Summing up (a): • Policy People may infer Public Opinion from media, • and they may use media to promote their policies. • Often it is interaction of media & politicians (not the public) that affects govt policy & practice.

Summing up (b): • Civil society has little impact via media or public opinion,

Summing up (b): • Civil society has little impact via media or public opinion, on policy • In the countries studied, there is little evidence of any model at work. • Contrary to the models, media is NOT (yet) a factor

Research agenda • South Africa Convergence Bill – elicits input • SABC policies –

Research agenda • South Africa Convergence Bill – elicits input • SABC policies – But not SABC re-licensing process • SABC “Woman’s Day” issue Media will become a factor elsewhere.

Future research to look at: • Then we need to assess: – one-sided &

Future research to look at: • Then we need to assess: – one-sided & simplistic reportage = rapid policy change? • Complexity & debate = slower policy action? • Life cycle of policy: mobilisation -> action -> maintenance -> fade (as the media intensity declines).

Other research issues 2: • TV greater impact on dramatic & short-term events. But

Other research issues 2: • TV greater impact on dramatic & short-term events. But often TV takes its cue from print. • Intermedia agenda-setting power. For example, some titles set “the story” for others. • Note: power of international media and cultural imperialism.

 Actual media effects: Any impact on policy makers & implementers? § Via media

Actual media effects: Any impact on policy makers & implementers? § Via media & bypassing media, and upon media (affecting its interests & operations). Influence decoding by audiences: § the setting of media agendas and framing – are people passive?

 Summing up Media, public, policy people = a dynamic & powerful triangle! that

Summing up Media, public, policy people = a dynamic & powerful triangle! that is sometimes not a triangle! and that works at diff levels, issues, times!

 Understanding Journalists need to grasp the complexities about actors, public opinion, policy. In

Understanding Journalists need to grasp the complexities about actors, public opinion, policy. In this way, strategise & heighten our impact Africa needs optimum relationships, esp on Information Society policy issues.

 Last words Think about it. Act upon it. Be a conscious player in

Last words Think about it. Act upon it. Be a conscious player in public opinion