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Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2001-0818
  • E-ISSN:



This article proposes a typology of the models of managing local language press in Africa. Two models are identified: the mainstream and the subsidiary. In the mainstream model are local language newspapers that exist as the sole or main products of a media organization. The subsidiary model consists of local language newspapers that exist as subsidiary products of a foreign (but dominant) language media organization. The two models are differentiated by two major factors: Focus/Attention/Priority and Resources (Sharing) and Men, Materials, Machine and Marketing. Using critical political economy as a theoretical framework, the article draws examples from local language press establishments in Africa to discuss these models. Irrespective of the model of management adopted, the survival of local language newspapers in Africa remains precarious. The survival or otherwise of local language newspapers in Africa is better understood through the prism of critical political economy, a branch of political economy that appreciates the interrelationships between the distribution of material and symbolic resources. The two models of management are affected by political economy, either at the macro or micro level. The power relations among the contesting languages in a society determine to a great extent the economic well-being of any newspaper. The literature on critical political economy addresses the close relationship between those who wield political (and economic) power. This, more than any specific management model, determines the success of any local language newspaper. Even though the general situation with local language press in Africa is not impressive, there are some success stories that can be situated within either of the two management models.


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