Greater media convergence vital for people-to-people cooperation

18Feb 2022
The Guardian
Greater media convergence vital for people-to-people cooperation

TIMES are changing in the media industry each passing day, with growing ease of communication and more open political inclinations facilitating direct communication between individuals and agencies across borders.

This was part of what was in the air as a team from the top management of Vodacom Tanzania Ltd visited the IPP media outlets on Wednesday.

This came nearly at the same time as broadcasts of ITV, EATV and a few other local channels started becoming visible at DSTV, the global South African service provider.

The crucial event towards this convergence of the media is a changing political atmosphere, with two ‘firsts’ registered within a week. One was the re-certification of some vibrant newspapers, the other the removal of controls on direct television by satellite for a whole range of operators.

Noticeable political or communications convergence was such that while DSTV was beginning to show ITV programmes, the Vodacom delegation’s tour came as President Samia Suluhu Hassan met and conversed with exiled Chadema ex-presidential candidate Tundu Antipas Lissu.

A former legislator for the opposition party, Lissu is also the party’s national Vice Chairman.

Communications analysts often ponder on the role of media outlets in evolution of political dialogue, if they just cover events and carry sentiments as given out in wider society or also constitute a moment of the shaping of the content.

Realism demands that political events take the lead, and the media merely pick up portions of the dialogue in accordance with orientations and sense of values of each outlet in relation to its stakeholders and customer base.

So the politics affects, in a very important way, how each segment of society thinks or expects in mass communications.

Watching these converging trends and events, it is understandable when or if one gets the feeling that there is an atmosphere of change that is unlikely to be rolled back by a change of mood in the near future.

Usually rollbacks take place for non-institutionalised prerogatives, as they look like privileges given by the rulers. They lack in bilateral, multilateral or regional commitments – while current changes are based on a new multilateral ethos.

Thus the newly forged links in the field of multimedia as well as communication proximity involving the local communication service provider anchored in the South African Vodafone group, as an extension of the UK giant, may be here to say.

There is much less competition between nascent communication firms at the local level and international or multinational firms, as the audience of the former also branch into the outside.

From strict reliance on television channels or newspaper distribution, plenty is now placed on YouTube or other access points – that is, into multimedia.

Local players are longer in a position to complain with respect to sharing out local communication space. This also applies to removing non-tariff barriers in regional trade, from the East African Community and Southern African Development Community (SADC) zones to the African continental free trade area. Indeed, the sky is the limit.

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