Date of this Version
Before the US crackdown on WikiLeaks website from 2010, the narrative of freedom dominating discourses on uneasy deployment of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in journalism was more prevalent in Africa – and developing regions – than in advanced democracies. Little wonder WikiLeaks did not, at least initially, include African media partners in their potent 2010 ‘cablegate’ exposés. From the 1996 Zambian government ban of the Post online to the recent onslaughts on bloggers in parts of the continent, ICT uses in journalism have reflected national contexts, with restrictions often resulting in self-‐censorship, as well as innovations that borrow from and build on global developments. This ‘glocal’ context perspective defines the review here of the new media use in journalism in Africa with an examination of Kenyan media coverage – mainly between 2005 and 2010 constitutional referenda. The focus is on coverage by two leading newspapers in their strive to keep up with emerging alternative spaces of networked online expression. The aim here is to determine the extent to which the coverage reflects immediacy and openness in a networked and converged environment, with implications for democracy. The article employs comparative approach and qualitative content-‐genre analysis.
Date Posted: 09 June 2014