Theories of media and democracy, entailing concepts like the 'public sphere' and 'civil society', have been extensively used in western societies. In contrast, analysis of the role of Africa's media in democratization has been patchy and lacking in theoretical foundation. By reworking some of the theorization that is born of societies with rather different media conditions to Africa, some useful insights can be gained about the processes on this continent, particularly in southern Africa. In particular, such re-engineered theory can help provide an analysis of contemporary issues regarding media freedom, the growth of private media, the contests around government-controlled media, and broadcast deregulation in Africa. In addition, such reworked theory helps contextualize the gender character of southern Africa's media and the significance of the Internet for democracy on the continent.
International Communication Gazette, February 2002 vol. 64 no. 1 21-45