The role of diasporic media in facilitating citizen journalism and political awareness in zimbabwe
This thesis is a contribution to the debate on the role of diasporic media in effecting political change in Zimbabwe in the current period. Using a constructivist paradigm whose point of departure is that the world is changeable, the thesis uses three case studies to explore how a conscious engagement with these media helps understand how people using minimum resources can engage in an activity that has a potential to create change in a restricted political environment. The case studies are: a radio station Short Wave Radio Africa (SWRA), a news website NewZimbabwe.com, and the newspaper The Zimbabwean. These media are located outside Zimbabwe owing to the thinning of media democratic space in the country. In what ways do media created by nationals in the diaspora manage to use affordable communication technologies to link with the population, providing an alternative public sphere? Despite the Zimbabwean government’s control of the media, in particular, radio broadcasting, evidence shows the rise of an oppositional communicative space conducted by a small number of poorly resourced social players. Civilians are therefore able to respond to disenfranchisement using a few resources as part of democratic ideation in a hostile environment. This constructivist argument states that the social world is not a given, but is part of a marked discursive and communicative process. This thesis further argues that diasporic media play a pivotal role in the social world in influencing notions of human consciousness; as forms of social, political and economic interactions that project thoughts, world-views, beliefs, ideas and concepts that underpin their relationships.
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