Revolution in Tunisia and the African Media

Tunisia, the source and inspiration of the Arab Spring, recently witnessed a milestone in the maturity of African media, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Trevor Ncube of the African Media Initiative blog at All Africa.

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Tunisian voters show their registration receipts in Marseille. (Getty Images)

Revolutions in the past have happened without social or even traditional media, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Trevor Ncube, co-chairs of the African Media Initiative, write in a blog entry at All Africa. But the Arab Spring and social media worked in tandem, they say, which is a blueprint that could soon be replicated in African media.

To be sure, revolutions in the past have happened without social or even traditional media. And, no doubt in time, Tunisians and the citizens of the other countries of the Arab Spring would have eventually thrown off the yolk of oppression. As the American civil rights martyr, Martin Luther King, Jr. often said: No lie can live forever."

But there is no question that social media accelerated the Arab uprisings and in most cases, limited the human toll that sometimes accompany revolutions, as we are seeing ,alas, in Syria. But that, thankfully, is the exception.

Since our last AMLF meeting in Cameroon, which concentrated on helping African media owners develop more effective business models, we have concentrated on concrete projects that would take AMLF closer to the goal of developing a media sector that would help citizens affect social, economic and political change, not least holding their leaders accountable. Social media has become key in realizing those goals. So we held workshops that gave experts time to explore the possibilities of the new technologies. And the Tunis AMLF declaration emphasized the need to continue focusing on improving professionalism, management, content and timeliness of reporting by harnessing the strengths of media technology.

Read Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Trevor Ncube's entire column at All Africa.

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