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Download Human Rights and African Airwaves: Mediating Equality on the by Harri Englund PDF

By Harri Englund

Human Rights and African Airwaves makes a speciality of Nkhani Zam'maboma, a well-liked Chichewa news broadcast broadcast on Malawi’s public radio. this system usually takes gurus to activity and questions a lot of the human rights rhetoric that comes from overseas corporations. Highlighting legal responsibility and mutual dependence, this system expresses, in well known idioms and native narrative types, grievances and injustices which are closest to Malawi’s impoverished public. Harri Englund finds broadcasters’ daily struggles with state-sponsored biases and a listening public with robust perspectives and a severe ear. This clean examine African-language media indicates how Africans successfully confront inequality, exploitation, and poverty.

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Extra info for Human Rights and African Airwaves: Mediating Equality on the Chichewa Radio

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In the early 1980s, an MBC journalist, drawing the historical con- 28 / Human Rights, African Alternatives nection to British broadcasting a little too definitely, commented with considerable optimism: “It is good to see that the rigidity of the structure inherited from the BBC is being quickly broken down in order to allow the broadcaster and audience to interact positively” (quoted in Wedell 1986: 288). These complexities call for careful consideration of contradictory practices within the apparently stifling approach to pub­lic broadcasting.

39 The mother’s observation that she did not have a husband to support her made the teacher say that neither did she, but because she went to school, “I look after myself on my own” (ndimadzidalira pa ndekha). The dialogue ended with the mother agreeing that she would have averted poverty through schooling, and she therefore promised to send her daughter to school. Just as radio listening clubs may provide an important new opportunity for deliberation despite the shortcomings of participatory development, the play described here can also encourage fresh reflections on female education and advancement.

Chapter 9 concludes the book by reviewing the alternative this ethnography presents to liberal thought on equality and obligation, and to the assumption among some scholars and policy-­makers that Africa lacks institutions to monitor the abuse of power. Texts, Transcriptions, and Translations Any ethnography that is based on a substantial corpus of texts struggles to strike the right balance between analysis and a readable account of what those texts say. The ethnography of Nkhani Zam’maboma also faces the additional Introduction / 19 challenge of translating those texts and making at least some of the background knowledge they require available to readers who do not participate in the life-­ worlds they depict.

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