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Title:Newspapers in Sierra Leone: a case study of conditions for print journalism in a postconflict society
Authors:Wahl-Jorgensen, KarinISNI
Cole, Bernadette
Periodical:Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies (ISSN 0256-0054)
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Abstract:This article uses the conditions for newspaper production in Sierra Leone since the end of the civil war in 2002 as a case study for the analysis of the difficulties of democratic communication under conditions of poverty and underdevelopment. Sierra Leone has a tradition of a vigorous press. However, journalism struggles for survival in Sierra Leone, one of the world's least developed countries. Problems facing the newspaper press include legal constraints, difficulties in distribution, lack of journalistic skills, a minuscule revenue base, and a lack of electricity, basic materials, technologies, and resources. The scarcity of financial resources engenders the unethical practice of 'coasting', or blackmailing, among journalists. However, resource problems haunt every layer of society, including government, business, and civil society. As such, the case of Sierra Leone demonstrates a broader point about journalism: that it cannot be viewed in isolation from a wider social context. Despite these constraints, journalists in Sierra Leone contribute in vital ways to an emerging democracy. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]