Media and underdevelopment in Anglophone west Africa
Africa’s colonial legacy is often blamed for her failure to modernize. This paper argued that post-colonial legal and political structures constitute greater obstacles to development in contemporary Africa. Using archival data and interview methods to investigate the connection between media suppression and political volatility in West Africa; the findings indicated that successive and contemporary governments in Ghana, Nigeria and the Gambia are hostile to media criticism; routinely target radical press organisations, deny access to state-held information and use legislation and security agents to hinder journalists from freely gathering and fully disseminating information required for public participation in politics. Media oppression hinders the political process from openness, reform and transparency required for modernisation. The paper argued for a sub-regional framework for implementing and enforcing freedom of information within Anglophone West Africa.
Keywords: West Africa, democracy, development, press freedom, political process