ICT Policy and New Media Practices in Southern Africa project
In 2010 the Department of Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, with support from the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) embarked on a two year long project titled, “ICT Policy and New Media Cultures in Southern Africa”. The research project involved a two-tiered initiative aimed at exploring the political economy of new media industries in five Southern African countries; South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The first tier of the project entailed detailed ICT policy reports on each of the countries, while the second tier involved ethnographic studies on the use of ICTs by ordinary citizens, civil society and social movements. With a keen interest on the internet and mobile phones in particular, the research sought to examine the extent to which forms of ownership and financing of these media enhance or militate against universal access of citizens to these media. The focus on universal access remained crucial to the study, given that it is seen as corollary to the empowerment of citizens and the unleashing of their democratic and developmental potential in social, political, and economic processes.