You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Ethan Zuckerman on Kenyan Digital Activist Class

Berkman Center Fellow Ethan Zuckerman provides a great big picture view of the trends in digital activism in developing countries, and reminds us that so many of the pioneers in this field are aware of the disconnect between the emerging middle class and most Kenyans.

One of the many money quotes:

There’s a strong overlap between the emerging middle class in the developing world and the world of citizen media. Bloggers in Africa are highly educated, and generally are wealthier than the average African. (It’s not cheap, in African terms, to afford the amount of internet access you need to maintain a blog.) Kenya’s got a large middle class, and it’s got one of the largest blogger populations on the continent, behind South Africa, Egypt and very few others.

This group of bloggers and their peers are documenting the election crisis in a way that’s unprecedented in Africa. Traditionally, we’ve heard about African crises either long after they took place (Rwanda) or through the eyes of international media (Darfur, northern Uganda, eastern DRC). In Kenya, we’re hearing raw, emotional accounts from people directly affected by this violence. These accounts are complicating mainstream media narratives. Immediately after the election, many newspapers offered a narrative of the Kenyan violence in terms of “long-simmering ethnic tensions” – bloggers reminded us that these tensions had been consciously stoked by political parties, and that the nation had been largely free of serious ethnic tension for most of its history. As the violence has taken on a clear ethnic cast, bloggers have reminded us how unexpected and how shocking the violence is against the backdrop of Kenyan history.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Ethan Zuckerman on Kenyan Digital Activist Class

Comments are closed.