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#AfricaBlogging at re:publica 2015 in Berlin

KAS Media Africa hosted a #AfricaBlogging panel at this year's re:publica in Berlin and invited bloggers from Kenya and Uganda to discuss the state of political blogging in Africa. Moreover, the upcoming launch of the #AfricaBlogging platform was announced.

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“No-one can speak for us but us. No-one will fight for us but us.” This is how Kenyan blogger Brenda Wambui summarized the main drive of political bloggers in Sub-Sahara Africa. Feeling the need to speak out and give a voice to the people and minorities who are often unheard, she founded the social-political blog Brainstorm. Last week, she was part of the panel on #AfricaBlogging at the annual digital media conference re:publica in Berlin, together with her blogger colleagues Njeri Wangari from Kenya, Ruth Aine Tindyebwa from Uganda and Christian Echle, director of KAS Media Africa.

The panel discussed the state of political blogging in Sub-Saharan Africa and announced the upcoming launch of a #AfricaBlogging platform within the next two months.

Supporting political bloggers is a key concern of KAS Media Africa. “This is because the mainstream media in Sub-Saharan Africa is quite weak”, Christian Echle explained. On the one side, mainstream media is often very close to the government and is either state-owned or owned by a ruling politician. The independent media, on the other hand, is most often underfinanced, understaffed and lacks journalistic skills. “In this situation, there is a lack of a broad variety of opinion and professionally presented information.” Political bloggers, according to Echle, could jump into that gap.

The work environment for political bloggers in Africa, however, can be hostile and insecure. Critical reporters are threatened and persecuted by governmental officials, sometimes even jailed, said Njeri Wangari. The regulatory framework is uncertain as it is not clear to what extent bloggers count as journalists and whether media law applies to blogs and to online publications. This is another striking challenge bloggers face, according to Brenda Wambui. They are struggling to find access to resources and funds. Due to the high impact bloggers can have by using social media and online platforms, they are often in conflict with traditional journalists. Moreover, the understanding of responsible blogging and media ethics varies greatly among the African blogging community, which negatively affects the quality and credibility of many political blogs. This emphasizes the need for trainings and exchange.

The bloggers agreed that mobile devices are of great importance for bloggers in Africa: “The future is mobile.” In Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices, compared to a global average of 30%. “Whatever bloggers do, it has to be accessible via mobile devices.”

Platforms like #AfricaBlogging would therefore highly important and valuable, emphasized Ruth Aine Tindyebwa, because they facilitate exchange, offer trainings and workshops and promote high quality blogs.

Watch the video stream of the panel discussion:

Further readings:


Kenya Monitor

Blogger Association of Kenya

Future Challenges

Aine Ruth' Blog

Foresight for development


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Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

Director Media Programme Southeast Europe +359 2 942-4971 +359 2 94249-79


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