Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Communicatio September 2012 copyright Taylor & Franci], available online at: See website for more details/attribution options


Broadcasting digital migration (BDM) in Africa reflects deadlines agreed by the continent at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The case suggests a negative answer to the question about a uniquely African contribution to communication theory. This is because there is a disjuncture between the ideology of BDM, as evolved in developed countries and copied in African countries, and a critical theorisation of African communications which could surface a different vantage point. The embedded theory that informs African accord on BDM assumes unquestioningly that this particular development in advanced economies has to be emulated in Africa. As a result, primary African communications characteristics are ignored, including the case for investing in radio or mobile internet rather than BDM. Also missed is the value of democratic and interactive communications, meaning that the BDM Set Top Boxes (STBs) are seen merely as decoders of one-way content flows. In sum, the experience of BDM as a particular intersection of communications technology and social conditions reflects an inadequate African communication theorisation .



Date Posted: 27 February 2014