Rhodes Political Studies has organised a teach-in this week on the World Cup, with speakers ranging from the celebratory to the denigratory. I'm giving the concluding talk, which I've titled: "Race & representation in the meaning/s of the 2010 World Cup" (note: 3.8mb ppt file).
In summary, the event was intended (in part) by South African government to create "symbolic engineering" - to re-image South Africa in the first instance, and the interdependent semiotic connection with Africa more broadly in the second instance.
Brisbane is a long way to discuss a debate in Africa over information. But it's the venue of the World Press Freedom Day commemoration on 3 May 2010, and UNESCO asked me to make an input. To this end, I drafted a paper, arguing for the importance (at least equivalent) of practical access to info in African conditions, in relation to the (largely unrealised) political right to information.
My second name (besides Julian, Eliot, Gough - what were my parents thinking?) should have been digital. "G D Berger". Since I realised the power of digital compression, without which ICT would not exist, I've been a promoter of all things digital.
But in the past year, something's gone sour. It's called digital migration. This is a process so complex and so costly, that it would need to be worth mega-benefits if it was to happen.
Champions for freedom of information in Africa often have to respond to claims that the media would abuse such a dispensation. Governments resist granting rights to information, citing “irresponsible” journalism that incites public violence. So the media is presented as being the roadblock to reform.
At a conference in Accra, convened by the Carter Centre, media leaders Karikari and Ba gave their counter-arguments: