Faculty Publications


Media laws in political transition

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Media and Democracy in Africa

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The purpose of this chapter is to examine the legal provisions for the African media within the context of the current democratic reform process. More specifically, it provides a sense of which legal and constitutional amendments have been made to respond to the public pressures for more democracy. It also discusses the limitations that exist in African polities with regard to providing an enabling environment for the media. This chapter, then, takes an opposite approach to that of Hyden and Okigbo in chapter 2, where the media were treated as independent variables. Here, they constitute the dependent variable, that is, the thing to be explained. The independent variable is disaggregated into two factors: the legal provisions and the behavior of political actors. As this chapter tries to demonstrate, a major problem in ensuring greater freedom for the media in Africa is the inclination of political leaders to ignore legal and constitutional rules. This behavior, which is part of a neopatrimonialist type of rule, continues to pose a threat to media freedom in the ongoing political transition. As one African observer has argued, the seeds of “authentic�? democracy are yet to germinate in the “psyche�? of Africa’s political class (Bing 1991). Close this message to accept cookies and our Terms and Conditions. We use cookies to d.


Department of Communication and Media

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