Peace-making, power configurations and media practices in northern Uganda: a case study of Mega FM

This article analyses the uses of the ‘community’ and ‘peace media’ labels in media houses in northern Uganda. It assesses their effect on power configurations and on the practices and the representations of media workers. In order to do so, it analyses how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have penetrated the local media and have modified the rules of the game, in terms of access to resources and protection from repression, but also in terms of the definition of professionalism. It shows how a local radio station, Mega FM, launched in Gulu in 2002, has managed to negotiate its dependence on the State and on international NGOs, and how it has succeeded in dominating the local media market by embracing these media models. In the local language Luo, ‘mega’ means ‘mine’, which emphasizes the idea that the station should be owned by the ‘community’. Finally, all these dynamics are illustrated and nourished by a shift in professional values: the media workers now value the ‘responsibility’ of the media understood as a support to the peace process. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: Peace-making, power configurations and media practices in northern Uganda: a case study of Mega FM
Author: Brisset-Foucault, Florence
Year: 2011
Periodical: Journal of African Media Studies (ISSN 1751-7974)
Volume: 3
Issue: 2
Pages: 205-225
Language: English
Geographic term: Uganda
Abstract: This article analyses the uses of the ‘community’ and ‘peace media’ labels in media houses in northern Uganda. It assesses their effect on power configurations and on the practices and the representations of media workers. In order to do so, it analyses how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have penetrated the local media and have modified the rules of the game, in terms of access to resources and protection from repression, but also in terms of the definition of professionalism. It shows how a local radio station, Mega FM, launched in Gulu in 2002, has managed to negotiate its dependence on the State and on international NGOs, and how it has succeeded in dominating the local media market by embracing these media models. In the local language Luo, ‘mega’ means ‘mine’, which emphasizes the idea that the station should be owned by the ‘community’. Finally, all these dynamics are illustrated and nourished by a shift in professional values: the media workers now value the ‘responsibility’ of the media understood as a support to the peace process. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]