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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


Round Table: The Use of ICTs for Political Mobilization and Participation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, hosted the first seminar of the series on “Media and Governance in Developing Countries”.

Wednesday 25 January – 17:00-18:30 – Seminar Room D – Social Science Building – Manor Road, Oxford.

The round table explored some preliminary findings of the ongoing project on “ICTs and citizen led governance” launched in 2011 by the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge. Focusing on the cases of Kenya and Uganda the panellists discussed how new spheres of discussion opened by the articulation of ‘traditional’ media like radio and the uses citizens make of mobile phones are integrated in existing political settings. In particular they explored how much these ICT-radio mediated discussions are transforming mechanisms of representative democracy, existing political practices or local hierarchies. Radio and mobile phone discussions open new venues for citizen participation, and affect party politics, clientele relations, interactions between constituents and MPs, parameters of political control, elite formation processes, and offer new business opportunities for radio stations, as many of these talk shows are part of a commercialised transaction between the stations, politicians and international NGOs. ICT-radio mediated discussions are also the cradle of debates around what it means to be a citizen and a leader, and play a role in the evolution of the values, the practices and the expectations attached to these political and social roles.


Dr. Sharath Srinivasan, CGHR Director, University of Cambridge

Dr. Florence Brisset-Foucault, University of Cambridge

Dr. Iginio Gagliardone, University of Oxford