Iginio Gagliardone

Senior Lecturer in Media Studies

 (Honours Coordinator)

I joined Wits in 2016 from the University of Oxford (Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies), where I continue to hold the position of Associate Research Fellow. Prior to Oxford, I was at the University of Cambridge (Department of Politics and International Studies), after having gained my PhD from the London School of Economics. I have worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and for the Ministry of Innovation in Rome, Italy.


My research cuts across disciplines – including media studies, international relations, and development studies – and can be divided in three main areas.

Politics of Technology
I have been investigating the relationships and mutual influences between technology, politics, and development. Focusing on the diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) across Africa, my work has examined how ICTs have been employed as tools for state and nation building, especially in closed regimes. More recently, through funding from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust in the UK, I embarked on a five-year study exploring how the increasing role of China in the ICT sector in Africa and the securitization of foreign policy, strongly promoted by the USA, are influencing the shaping of information societies in Africa, with a focus on Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana.

New Media and Human Rights
The proliferation of distinctive uses of new media across the globe is posing a serious test for the conceptualization and implementation of human rights. The emergence and diffusion of hate speech online has spurred new debates on the balances that need to be found between freedom of expression, security and human dignity. In collaboration with UNESCO, as well as national and international civil society organizations, I have been leading in a series of research projects analyzing how hate speech generates and diffuse online, and how it compares to other forms of speech (e.g. political engagement). Specific case studies include online hate speech around Ethiopia's elections. More recently, my focus has expanded to include second-generation human rights, investigating the relationship between uses of new media and economic and social inequalities.

Innovation in Research Methods for the Social Sciences
A third, crosscutting, interest, is towards possibilities of innovatively combining qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in the social sciences to address emerging real-life challenges. For example, how deliberative polling techniques can used in authoritarian regimes to open-up the space for debate; or how oral histories can be used as tools for generating survey questionnaires that can be perceived as driven by local sensitivities, rather than outside interests? As part of this effort, I have been co-leading the incubator on Big Data and Human Development at the University of Oxford that seeks to investigate the potential for big data to be appropriated by end-users to address some of their real life problems.



Gagliardone, I. (Forthcoming in 2016) The Politics of African Development: Communication Technologies in Ethiopia. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Gagliardone, I. , Gal, D., Alves, T., Martinez, G. (2015) Countering Online Hate Speech. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.

Journal Articles (Selected)

Gagliardone, I., and Nyiri, P. (Forthcoming in 2016). Freer but not free enough? Chinese journalists finding their feet in Africa. Journalism.

Stremlau, N., Fantini, E., & Gagliardone, I. (2015). Patronage, politics and performance: radio call-in programmes and the myth of accountability. Third World Quarterly, 36(8), 1510-1526.

Gagliardone, I., (2015) "Can You Hear Me?" Mobile-Radio Interactions and Governance in Africa. New Media & Society.

Beyene, Z., Zerai, A. and Gagliardone, I. (2015) Satellites, Plasmas and Law: The Role of TeleCourt in Changing Conceptions of Justice and Authority in Ethiopia, Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, vol. 4, n. 1.

Gagliardone, I., (2014) Media Development with Chinese Characteristics. Global Media Journal, vol. 4, n. 2.

Gagliardone, I., (2014) New Media and the Developmental State in Ethiopia. African Affairs, vol. 113, n. 451.

Gagliardone, I. (2014) "A Country in Order": Technopolitics, Nation Building and the Development of ICTs in Ethiopia. Information Technologies & International Development, vol. 9, n. 4.

Gagliardone, I. (2013) China as a Persuader: CCTV Africa's First Steps in the African Mediasphere. Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, vol. 34, n. 2, 2013.

Gagliardone I. (2013) China and the African Internet: Perspectives from Kenya and Ethiopia. Index Communication, Special Issue on "New African Communication", vol. 3, n. 2.

Gagliardone, I., Stremlau, N. and Nkrumah, D. (2012) Partner, Prototype or Persuader? China's new media engagement with Ghana. Communication, Politics & Culture, vol. 45, n. 2.

Gagliardone, I. (2009) The socialization of ICTs in Ethiopia: Reshaping Technology for Nation Building. Journal of Socio- Technology and Knowledge Development, vol. 1, n. 4.

Gagliardone, I. and Stremlau, N. (2008) Public Opinion Research in a Conflict Zone: Grassroots Diplomacy in Darfur. International Journal of Communication, vol. 2.

Gagliardone, I. (2005) Virtual Enclaves or Global Networks? The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Development Cooperation. Psychology Journal, vol. 3, n. 3.

Book Chapters (Selected)

Gagliardone, I. (2015) Transnational Political Communication, in Mazzoleni, G. (Ed.) The International Encyclopaedia of Political Communication. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell

Stremlau, N., and Gagliardone, I. (2015) Media, Conflict and Democratization in Africa, in Zielonka, J. (Ed.) Media and Politics in new democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gagliardone, I. and Stremlau, N. (2012) Digital Media, Conflict and Diasporas in the Horn of Africa, in Dragomir, M. and Thompson, M. (Eds.) Mapping Digital Media. London: Open Society Institute.

Gagliardone, I. (2011) The Technopolitics of the Ethiopian Nation, in Coakes, E. (Ed.) Knowledge Development and Social Change Through Technology. Hershey: IGI Global.

Other publications (Reports, Working papers)

Gagliardone, I., Pohjonen, M., Zerai, A., Beyene, Z. Aynekulu, G., Bright, J., Bekalu, M., Seifu, M.Moges, M., Stremlau, N., Taflan, P., Gebrewolde, T., Teferra, Z. (2015) Mechachal - Online Debates and Elections in Ethiopia. Report Two: Discussing politics and history in social media. Oxford and Addis Ababa: Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) and Addis Ababa University.

Gagliardone, I., et al. (2015) Mechachal - Online Debates and Elections in Ethiopia. Report One: A preliminary assessment of online debates in Ethiopia. Oxford and Addis Ababa: Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) and Addis Ababa University.

Gagliardone, I. and Sambuli, N. (2015) Cyber-Security and Cyber-Resilience in East Africa, London: Chatham House.

Gagliardone, I. (2014) Mapping and Analysing Hate Speech Online: Opportunities and Challenges for Ethiopia. Oxford: Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP).

Allen, K. and Gagliardone, I. (2012) Kenya. Case Study Snapshot of Donor Support to ICTs and Media. Washington: Internews and the World Bank Institute.

Gagliardone, I., Srinivasan, S. and Brisset-Foucault, F. (2011) New Communication Technologies and Citizen-led Governance in Africa. Cambridge: Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR).

Gagliardone, I., Stremlau, N. and Repnikova, M., China in Africa: A New Approach to Media Development? Report published by the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), University of Oxford. Oxford, 2010.



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