Media has become the most widely used means to relay or convey information throughout the world. Through media, people become aware of the events taking place all around the world, without necessarily being there. Hence, the media is a very powerful tool in that it can build or break. This building or breaking is attributed to how reliable media has become as a source of information. Although Africa lags behind in terms of development compared to other parts of the world, media in all its forms is growing tremendously throughout all the African countries. This is observed in the improvement in the media infrastructure, such as satellites, and the incorporation of new technologies, such as the fiber optic.
One of the relevance of media in Africa is that media has played a great role in the preservation of African culture. Culture in the African context is a great determinant of almost all the aspects of life of a particular individual. This is because culture in Africa determines the people’s way of life. The reservation of African culture has also promoted socio-economic development among African countries. Hence, the media has played a great role in ensuring the survival of the African culture through television shows, radio, and the press (Bourgault, 1995).
The media has a continental impact on the African perspective and is seen through the African Media Initiative. The promotion to the commitment of ethics and independence among African countries has been made possible through such forms as radio, print, and digital media (Hachten, 1971). This, consequently, promotes unity among the African countries whereby the importances of organizations, such as the African Union, are made known through the media. Hence, through the media, unity and cooperation among African countries is ensured and sustained.
The media has promoted development among African countries. The media has spread the message of development and reintegration throughout Africa (Wilcox, 1975). The media conveys development and its importance among the lives of Africans, as portrayed by organizations such as the African union and the United Nations, which includes the reduction of poverty whereby the number of Africans living below the poverty line keeps reducing. The media also promotes development through creating avenues for foreign investments. Foreign investments have a great impact on developing African countries (Hyde%u0301n, 2002). This is through the creation of job opportunities.
Media promotes communication among African countries. Considering the fact that majority of the African countries are underdeveloped, the lack of proper infrastructure has affected the communication greatly. The establishment of proper infrastructure is expensive and, hence, not feasible to the African countries. Hence, the media provides a cheap and affordable means of acquiring information. According to the financial capability of an individual, there are media devices available at almost all price ranges affordable to African population. Hence, media has become a great aid in the promotion of communication via television, radio, and digital means (Hyde%u0301n, 2002).
Media distribution in Africa is usually considered as a factor that shows development in countries within the continent. A country’s development is gauged by the level of infrastructure which is present in that country. This is usually observed in terms of road networks and proper means of transport and communication. In the absence of these factors, media coverage in the countries of Africa is limited due to the challenges posed. In African countries where proper infrastructure is present, media coverage and distribution is present. Hence, this promotes connectivity within Africa and the rest of the world. The media serves as an aspect that highlights and informs about potential investment areas and available markets.
Media regulations in African countries vary from country to country. This is mostly due to the levels of democracy embraced by the African countries. Therefore, there are mixed regulatory regimes whereby some countries are observed to embrace self-regulation regimes. A good example of a country employing such a regime is South Africa. Other countries embrace statutory regulation regimes. These regimes are present in such countries as Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Botswana (Middleton & Njoku, 2009). The spread of democracy among African countries in the last two decades has greatly promoted the expansion of the media and reduced media regulations through the promotion of media independence due to democracy among the African countries.
African countries have also laid laws governing media operations. This is evident through the constitutional provisions that guarantee media freedom of expression and operations. Although these are present, there are many inconsistencies among the media laws in the African countries. This is because African countries are not employing a common approach towards establishing media laws. Consequently, some of the countries are close to attaining the international standards of media laws, whereas others are lagging behind. Media consumption in the African countries is growing at a rate proportional to the development among the African countries (Middleton & Njoku, 2009). Technological advancement has greatly increased media consumption using digital media such as the internet, which has promoted communication and connectivity. The introduction of the internet in African countries has enhanced remote connectivity even in the most under-developed countries within Africa. Hence, the level of development of a particular country is the greatest determinant of the media consumption.
One of the advantages of media operations in Africa is the fact that media operations have promoted foreign investment in African countries. Though the media operations, African countries that are worthy investment are made known to the foreign investors. This, consequently, helps boost the economies of the under-developed countries through the provision of jobs (Wilcox, 1975). Hence, this reduces the poverty level among the African countries and promotes self-sufficiency.
Another advantage of media operations in Africa is the fact that they have promoted connectivity among the African nations. This connectivity has promoted cooperation among the African countries. This is because the media has made it possible for the countries to be aware of the events taking place within Africa. This, consequently, drives countries to assist one another in times of adversity, and, hence, this promotes unity among the African countries.
On the other hand, media operations in Africa have come as a disadvantage in Africa. This is in the sense that media coverage has resulted in the depletion of resources among the African countries. Such natural resources as oil, diamonds, and gold have been continuously depleted, and the major beneficiaries of the process are the foreigners. Irresponsible reporting and other media practices have caused communities to fight against each other due to the acts of incitement. This is especially the case with vernacular media groups. An example of this happened in Kenya in 2007/2008 presidential elections where communities fought each other. Another disadvantage associated with media is the depletion of the African culture. Depletion of the African culture has become wide spread whereby Africans are adopting the western way of life (Nel, 2005). Therefore, the African people lose their identity and their culture.
It is evident that media is a very powerful tool owing to its connectivity. The media is able to reach masses all over the world through various forms of media. Therefore, it promotes connectivity and reliability whereby even the most remote parts of the world, especially in Africa, can be made known to the world. The media is also a reliable source of information in that it is believable all around the globe. Hence, media in Africa has promoted the connection of Africa to the rest of the world.