Emerging patterns and trends in citizen journalism in Africa: The case of Zimbabwe
Bruce Mutsvairo and Simon Columbus
(Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands)
ABSTRACT: While it has generally been accepted that non-professional media actors empowered by novel digitally networked technologies are changing the media landscape in the West, this is less obvious in the case of sub-Saharan Africa. Recent years, however, have seen the emergence of a diverse range of citizen media in Africa, enabled by technologies such as mobile phones, blogs, micro blogs, video-sharing platforms and mapping. Through in-depth and focus-group interviews with selected experts and citizen journalism practitioners, as well as a review of the existing body of research, this study aims to identify emerging patterns and trends in African citizen journalism, paying particular attention to the Zimbabwean case. The research hopes to establish the notion that digital technologyenabled citizen journalism, although still restricted to a subset of African countries, provides a powerful counter-narrative to professional media that are often constrained, or even controlled, by national governments.