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This volume analyzes the contexts in which emerging economies in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Asia can chart their socioeconomic futures through progressive democratic practices and media engagement. Using political and development communication, along with case studies from selected countries in these regions, the volume addresses human rights policies, diplomatic practices, democratization, good governance, identity politics, terrorism, collective action, gendered crimes, political psychology, and citizen journalism as paradigms for sustainable growth. Through practical experiences and field research in the selected countries, scholars show how personal and national freedoms as well as business deals have been negotiated in a bid to create a new socioeconomic culture within the nations.



Paradigmatic Approaches of Media Engagement and Social Mobilization


Chapter 1. An External Examination of Emerging Democratic Institutions and the Problem of Social and Economic Security

This chapter is predicated on the notion that countries that have recently decided to practice democracy struggle to balance their principles with those of social and economic security. It identifies information and communication technology (ICT) as being the epicenter of progressive and socioeconomic change, while creating new communities and building barriers to community safety in general. The chapter attempts to show how the widespread use of ICT and cultural infiltration could be stifling the security of those countries that are just beginning to adapt to the democratic way of life. It cautions against the acculturation of politically weak institutions, then offers solutions for emerging democratic nations and their external partners to improve social and economic security on a global level.

Emmanuel K. Ngwainmbi

Chapter 2. Navigating the Development Aid Challenge: Toward a More Encompassing Framework

Contemporary international communication and development studies have been grappling with philosophical divides. The controversial concept of neoliberalism has been conspicuously intensifying the dichotomy between (dematerialized) poststructuralism and political economy perspectives, making the most of the development endeavors perceived as either top-down (non-participatory) or bottom-up (participatory). In particular, the latter perspective tends to champion participatory approaches, perhaps because non-participatory development has manifested formidable failures. Through a discursive approach, this chapter presents a sketch of debates and concerns that have led to conceptual dichotomies and controversies in the field of development and related communications. Then, within the context of international development aid and by considering neoliberalism as discourse, the discussion explores a more encompassing way of understanding neoliberalism and recommends an integrative or holistic approach, since development is a fleeting concept.

Jean-Claude Kwitonda

Regionalism and the Mediated Global Civil Society


Chapter 3. The Impact of Regionalism on Democracy Building: An Examination of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Since the early 1990s, the world has witnessed a new wave of regionalism and a mushrooming of regional integration organizations, particularly in the global South. Focusing on Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ranks among the most promising examples of regionalism on the continent. The SADC explicitly aims at building and advancing democracy in the region and its member states as part of its broader agenda on regional development. From a political science perspective, there is general agreement that regional integration and parallel institution building can be useful measures to promote and strengthen democratic rule, since an appropriate institutional “lock-in” implies committing member countries to specified local norms and practices related to democracy. The example of the European Union (EU) gives sound evidence for the success of this mechanism. However, most of the scientific research that aims to explain the relationship between regionalism and the manifestation or stabilization of democracy in the participant member states has focused on the EU so far. To fill the existing gap in the literature, this chapter turns to the SADC and scrutinizes the organization’s regional agenda and policies on building democracies in its member states. By applying a before-and-after design and methods of rigorous process tracing, it provides a benchmarked evaluation of the organization’s efforts in this respect, and comes to the conclusion that the SADC has so far only been partially successful regarding achieving democracy using regional governance mechanisms.

Johannes Muntschick

Chapter 4. The Role of Cyber Activism in Disambiguating the Cosmopolis and Discourse of Democratization

Democracy and democratization have become universal norms and organizing principles that validate various forms of world governance and statehood. In particular in emerging and dependent economies, the policies and programs behind development aid have expanded their jurisdiction to include democracy, human rights, and good governance, along with policies of global neoliberalism. Notwithstanding the holding of regular elections, there is a need to keep identifying specific reasons why most emerging economies have witnessed little or no significant improvement in democracy, human rights, or good governance. This chapter focuses on the ambiguity reflected in the discourse of global public diplomacy deployed by purveyors of democracy and contestants of world influence, who double as Cold War warriors and democracy promoters. Discourse has become a creative and mutating technique used to co-opt not only the language of what used to be dissenters of global neoliberalism, but also international non-governmental organizations regarded as symbols of independent global civil society. The chapter proposes cyber communications as alternative tools for a new form of global civil society and citizens’ media that can promote genuine grassroots initiatives and disambiguate the discourse of the cosmopolitics of democratization through cyber activism and education.

Jean-Claude Kwitonda

Television as Political Weapon: The Asian and African Experience

Chapter 5. The Changing Face of Television and Public Policy Implications in India

This chapter presents the changing face of television in India at the historical and cultural levels, and the change in ownership, content, and viewership in an overview of four different periods. After the summary in the first section, the second part introduces the four phases in Indian television history. The last section looks critically at developments in Indian television and offers a blueprint for a more equitable and egalitarian development of community-based television stations in the country.

Srinivas Panthukala

Chapter 6. Television, Political Imagery, and Elections in India

Since the independence movement in India, beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the country’s political history has been closely linked with media, as this played an active role in mobilizing and unifying the masses against the British. Independent India believed in a democracy and subsequently held elections every five years to elect its quasi-federal government. Today, there are several active, dominant players at the regional or provincial level. That media and politics interlink is shown by the fact that every political party either owns or operates a television channel to propagate its ideology or eulogize its party leaders. Even those belonging to businesses have strong allegiances to a political party. With more than 800 channels operating in India, television has a far reach compared to any other medium of communication. This chapter focuses on the effectiveness of 24-hour news television channels to sway a majority of the electorate and create larger-than-life images of politicians, overpowering reality. Though charges of corruption and nepotism exist, politicians make innovative use of news channels and cultivate a specific picture, having the luxury of time and space on the channels to which they have access, and going on to win elections. This chapter explores the phenomenon of media influence in the context of India with case studies of national and regional/state leaders who utilized television to obfuscate their shortcomings and provide a theatrical experience to win over the electorate.

Nagamallika Gudipaty

Chapter 7. Media Exposure of Corruption and the Re-Election Chances of Incumbent Parties in Africa

Possible explanations for re-electing corrupt incumbents are that elections are not free and fair, or that voters are uninformed or misinformed about incumbents’ corruption. After adjusting for election freedom and press freedom, this study addresses whether voters in Africa punish incumbent parties for corruption, whether voters’ access to information enhances the re-election chances of the incumbent parties in Africa, and whether information about corruption changes the response of electors. Using probit models to analyze 50 elections from 30 African countries, the study finds that corruption does not affect the re-election chances of incumbent parties in Africa; that voters’ access to information reduces the re-election chances of incumbent parties in Africa; and that there is no evidence that information about corruption affects the re-election chances of incumbent parties. This may mean that African voters do not understand the negative impact of corruption on their economic wellbeing.

Mavuto Kalulu

Marginalized Communities and the Challenge of Democracy in the US, Africa, Central, and South America


Chapter 8. The Impact of Governmental Strategies on Black Political Discourse Groups: Voices Heard from the Black Panther Party to the Black Lives Matter Movement

This chapter presents a historical perspective on national strategies that have led to the rise of black political discourse groups. From police brutality to perceived inequities regarding civil rights, the USA is familiar with civil discourse in the form of social movements. Research suggests that national strategies against groups, such as brute police force, can serve as a catalyst for backlash. Specifically, the emergence of the domestic terrorist group the Black Panther Party from the Civil Rights movement and the collective group the Black Lives Matter movement will be addressed. Unwarranted use of violence and deaths of civilians at the hands of national groups make it easier for political discourse groups to utilize the sentiments of an already aggrieved population. The way in which the sentiments are utilized can mobilize individuals to join the discourse groups and justify collective behavior in response to the strategies. This chapter utilizes the social strain/relative deprivation and backlash theories as a framework to assess the impact of policies on collective action and the mobilization of contentious groups after a backlash in the USA. Factors of perceived social strain, such as police brutality, are exacerbated by the sense of injustice and inequality in a country operating on the principle of “justice for all.” This does not suggest that aggrieved collective groups become terrorists, but that political responses to aggrieved collective groups can result in a backlash in the form of collective political discourse groups.

Ashlie Perry

Chapter 9. The Mediatization of Violence: A Model for Utilizing Public Discourse and Networking to Counter Global Terrorism

This chapter analyzes ways in which the media, particularly television coverage, has enhanced global terrorism. It argues that terrorists must have some publicity to gain attention, inspire fear and respect, and secure a favorable understanding of their cause. The chapter attempts to show how a tripartite relationship of the media, governments, and terrorists is responsible for the growing global interest in terrorism. With selected literature on the media’s role in promoting the argument about terrorism, it explains ways in which the broadcast and online media serve a dual role: as a propaganda machine for terrorists; and as an advocate for governments to enhance information sharing on terrorism and suppress the terrorist culture in different regions. The chapter describes various terrorist groups, setting the context for understanding how the media has fostered the proliferation of terrorist cells. The last section offers long-term suggestions for ending terrorist activity around the world and for how governments and communities can limit terrorists’ destruction of the global society.

Emmanuel K. Ngwainmbi

Chapter 10. The Assassination of Journalists in Mexico: A Product of Criminal and Electoral Competition

The chapter argues that aggression against journalists stems from a combination of criminal and political dynamics. On the criminal side, the root of the problem is the heightened competition among criminal organizations for control of a devalued illegal drug market. These organizations use violence not only to eliminate their enemies but also, and perhaps mainly, to produce messages for each other, for the government, and for the rest of society. Government policies against such violence have been mostly oriented to containing it, often using spectacular displays of armed force. This chapter argues that the assassination of journalists in Mexico is not only an obstacle to the expansion of democracy. It is also a consequence of the growth of electoral democracy in a society that produces too many criminals eager to kill and be killed in the struggle for the decreasing but still attractive opportunities created by the illegal drugs market. Methodologically, the chapter starts from the assumption that criminal violence is murky, often mixed with indeterminate amounts of concealment, disinformation, manipulation, and fantasy. To deal with this problem, the chapter selects its sources according to two broad guidelines. The first is to diversify: to use sources that are as varied as possible, contrasting them, seeking their coincidences, and noting their divergences. The chapter secondly relies on available documents: reports about aggression toward journalists by domestic and international organisms; published testimonies by reporters, drug traffickers, law enforcement officials and political leaders; and official diagnoses by Mexican government institutions, among others.

Jose Luis Velasco

Chapter 11. Land Tenure, Community Space, and Media Engagement as Determinants of Good Governance in a Central American State: The Case of Guyana

This chapter argues that the process of obtaining land certificates led by the Government of Guyana since the conclusion of British rule in the early 1960s raises questions about human rights, cultural freedom, and meaningful economic growth for the people of the country. It examines the extent to which the government of that Central American state consulted its citizens before preparing the Amerindian Land Titling Project (ALT), aimed at facilitating the land titling process for the indigenous group and setting the policy objective of addressing all land titling issues by 2015. Using social empowerment theory, grassroots participation, and good governance as the departure points, this chapter explains whether there was active participation of the Amerindian communities in the design of the ALT project and the low carbon development strategy, which emphasizes the importance of protecting indigenous land rights and creating opportunities for communities that depend on forest resources for their livelihood. It is inspired by media coverage of Amerindian communities in Guyana suggesting that the government may not be protecting the rights of indigenous people to secure land, which could create a hostile environment for national unity. The chapter reviews communication activities around land titling and proposes ways of engaging citizens and ALT stakeholders (communities, village councils, government authorities, NGOs, indigenous representatives, and the media) to understand the ALT project and land titling mechanism, and to share knowledge among themselves.

Emmanuel K. Ngwainmbi

Strengthening African Democratic Institutions through Policy and Communication


Chapter 12. Moving Beyond “Illiberal Democracy” in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recalling the Significance of Local Governance

The developmental history of today’s liberal-democratic states demonstrates a clear parallel between liberal state practice and functioning local government institutions. This simple fact has implications for today’s policymakers interested in the political liberalization of Sub-Saharan Africa’s newly declared “democracies.” Among the many debates taking place in developmental politics, local governance remains—at best—a niche area that is usually brought up within the context of decentralization policy. Largely due to the recent history of Cold War patronage that focused on central over local government relations, the newly declared democracies of Sub-Saharan Africa consistently rank among the lowest in the world in the yearly indexes on freedom compiled by Freedom House. This chapter argues that if political liberalism is to be realized within these democracies, a renewed emphasis on the role of local government institutions must take place. It emphasizes the recent experience of Zambia, which demonstrates the kinds of internal and external policy challenges that proponents of local governance have faced.

Christopher LaMonica

Chapter 13. Use and Misuse of Data in Advocacy, Media, and Opinion Polls in Africa: Realities, Challenges, and Opportunities

This chapter offers a reflective perspective on the uses and misuses of data and statistics in public communication and development as a construct of democracy. It begins by situating data use in light of the “big data” revolution characterized by the devolution and globalization of information. Drawing on examples from the fields of advocacy, journalism, and political corruption, the chapter demonstrates that despite the positive uses of data by activists and journalists, the dissemination of incorrect data has grave consequences for public opinion formation and digital social engagement. From the analysis, it argues that the generators, users, and recipients of data should have an interest in checking facts, especially in a digital age, which is a minefield for mass misinformation. It calls for more training in data journalism, alignment of data in the public sector, and increased responsibility for data-generating institutions and fact-checking organizations. Finally, the chapter advocates stricter regulation of election opinion polls to avoid misinformation and manipulation of the electorate, which can have severe consequences for democracy in Africa.

Adebayo Fayoyin, Emmanuel K. Ngwainmbi

Chapter 14. Media Advocacy and Strategic Networking in Transforming Norms and Policies

Public policies and social practices affect all aspects of life. From the smallest to the largest issue, from the highest to the lowest level, human lives are daily affected by policies and social practices: some good, some bad. However, without strategic advocacy and coalition building, it is almost impossible to achieve any significant change. To this end, this chapter presents two case studies that explore advocacy tactics in shifting social practices and policies in Africa. It highlights the power of media advocacy and strategic networking in transforming norms and changing policies. The chapter also draws implications for the study and practice of persuasion communication.

Adebayo Fayoyin


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