Research Output
Changes in Media Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Community Media
  This thesis considers the role of community media in contemporary media policy developments of Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa. The study is broadly located within the discourse on ‘shapers’ of media policy developments. The empirical materials draw upon various case studies of media regulation and community press and broadcasting media campaigns in South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria. The case studies were conducted using mixed methods approach in a qualitative way. The methodological logics underpinning data presentation and analysis are explanation building and cross-case synthesis.
The thesis shows that there have been substantial media policy changes with progressive effects across Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa in the last two decades. Enabled by the growing deregulation of media environments, there is a robust and complex culture of community media in the region. Community media institutions, working alongside a plethora of allies and drawing on a range of communication and participatory platforms, are exerting significant impacts on media policy decisions. The degree of their effectiveness, however, is affected by political, legislative, and economic processes, as well as by differences in technology, business philosophies, available funding regimes, and structures for audience participation. The engagements of community media with governments in media deregulations have established a new model for understanding media policy and for media deregulations. But, regardless of the changes in media policy, there are still specific policy concerns that underline what brings additional pressures to community media.
The study concludes, firstly, that the contribution of community media to policy making still requires greater public recognition. Secondly, that there is need for the pressures on community media to be quickly redressed in order to improve their effectiveness as policy activists. This could be achieved through: a new understanding of media policy as advanced by alternative media organizations; an ‘open’ administrative approach to inform participatory policy decision-making; the expansion of protective frameworks for small media in a bid to preserve their emancipatory potency; and the use of social and digital media to strengthen campaigns for policy reforms.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 April 2014

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    302 Social interaction


Okon, P. E. Changes in Media Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Community Media. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Community media; contemporary policy; media campaigns; South Africa; Ghana; Nigeria;

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