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The media and policymaking in Africa

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submitted on 2023-09-12, 07:16 and posted on 2023-09-13, 09:01 authored by TK Pooe, Sysman Motloung

This chapter uses agenda-setting theory to explore the under-researched subject of whether the media in Africa, as the Fourth Estate, actually assists citizens to understand better and participate in public policy discourses, mainly, economic development policies. While it is understandable that historically the media fraternity in print media, television, radio and other newer forms has focused on the problems linked to the African political elite’s actions (or inactions), this focus has neglected other areas of the State’s internal operations. This is particularly evident when the twin processes of public policy development and its use to engage in economic development are examined in media discourse or Fourth Estate work. We present a comparative case study of Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, and selected news outlets. Our discussion derives from Kaspers’ (2017, p.1) observation that The Fourth Estate, in a democracy, the media, performs several basic functions. Besides informing citizens on current events, their key responsibilities include discussing and clarifying complex issues of public interest, serving as a conduit between the government and the governed and holding governments accountable for their actions. Media outlets serve as arenas of public debate, as voices of the public and the government.

Other Information

Published in: Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781003143840-20

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Routledge

Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This chapter is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Public Policy - HBKU

Geographic coverage

Africa

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