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International Media Development

Historical Perspectives and New Frontiers


Edited By Nicholas Benequista, Susan Abbott, Paul Rothman and Winston Mano

This collection is the first of its kind on the topic of media development. It brings together luminary thinkers in the field—both researchers and practitioners—to reflect on how advocacy groups, researchers, the international community and others can work to ensure that media can continue to serve as a force of democracy and development. But that mission faces considerable challenges. Media development paradigms are still too frequently associated with Western prejudices, or out of touch with the digital age. As we move past Western blueprints and into an uncertain digital future, what does media development mean? If we are to act meaningfully to shape the future of our increasingly mediated societies, we must answer this question.

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Chapter One: Introduction (Nicholas Benequista / Susan Abbott / Paul Rothman / Winston Mano)


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Those interested in understanding the dynamic interplay of forces either in hindering or propelling social progress could previously be excused for giving only a passing attention to the role of media, but no longer. The spread of digital communication technologies over the last three decades has had profound positive and negative impacts on the world, with much still resting on how media will continue to develop globally, nationally, and locally.1

Unfortunately, there remains a significant risk that the future of media, at all these levels, will not be determined by those who care about human rights, democracy, pluralism or driven by the needs and interests of citizens. The development of media that serves these values and interests will require concerted, strategic action by local activists, reform-minded governments and their unwavering international allies. To be effective, this action must be supported by learning and knowledge and bolstered by a commitment to human rights and democratic values that give more space to the needs of local communities.

As a modest contribution to the knowledge required, we have assembled in this volume a wide-ranging set of essays from both researchers and practitioners on the question of media development: how does media change, preferably for the better, and with what implications for the broader social, economic, and political development? By media, we mean the technologies and infrastructure...

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