The Cold War battle over global news in East Africa: Decolonization, the free flow of information, and the media business, 1960-1980

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the news business in Africa during decolonization. While UNESCO stimulated enormous discussion about creating independent 'third world' alternatives for news exchange, African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania sought to secure informational sovereignty by placing international news agencies within their control. Reuters and other international news agencies, in turn, adapted to decolonization by reinventing themselves as companies working to assist new nation-states. In the subsequent contest over news distribution, the Cold War, and inter-agency competition, Africa became a battleground for disputes between Reuters' capitalist vision of news as a commercial product and UNESCO's political conception of news. Ironically, decolonization enabled Reuters to gain greater control over information supply across Africa, because African leaders viewed the capitalist model of news as better suited to their diplomatic goals and political views.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-356
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Global History
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 19 2015

Keywords

  • East Africa
  • Reuters
  • UNESCO
  • communications
  • decolonization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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