African citizen journalists' ethics and the emerging networked public sphere

Bruce Mutsvairo, Simon Columbus, Iris Leijendekker

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Between conventional reporters and citizen media, ethics converge in African online journalism. The rise of digitally-networked technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones reshapes reporting across the continent. This change is technological – with social media platforms enabling new forms of publishing, receiving, and discussing stories – as well as cultural – with idiosyncratic conventions emerging on these platforms. We aim to identify distinct ethical traditions in conventional and citizen journalism in the literature and by interviewing practitioners from a range of African countries. A preliminary literature review indicates that practices in both strands of journalism are increasingly converging. More and more, traditional journalists and publishers take up practices piloted by bloggers and other social media users, whereas at least a subset of citizen journalists increasingly take to more sophisticated reporting practices. We posit that this convergence in journalistic practice comes with an increasing convergence in the underlying ethics. This paper will in particular explore how these convergent online journalism ethics relate to the public sphere. The emergence of a digitally-networked public sphere has been hailed as a revival of bottom-up democracy in the West, but its consequences for African countries are less clear. We therefore investigate whether the ethics of online journalism emerging across Africa conform with the preconditions for a networked public sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventInternational Symposium on Online Journalism - Austin, Texas
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Online Journalism
Period1/01/12 → …


Dive into the research topics of 'African citizen journalists' ethics and the emerging networked public sphere'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this