From Citizen Journalism to Human Rights Journalism: Framing the Ebola Epidemic in Sierra Leone on Facebook

Ibrahim Shaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter seeks to contribute to the growing scholarly debate about the widening democratic deficit of citizen journalism in serving as a counter-hegemonic model to mainstream journalism. Moreover, earlier scholarly criticisms of citizen journalism have tended to focus on its limits in fostering a liberal democratic political participation and professional journalism. What has received little scholarly attention is a critical look at the shortcomings of citizen journalism in the promotion of human rights and development. What is more, the few studies that exist on this, for example by Allan (2006; Allan et al., 2007) looking at the potential and limits of citizen journalism in reporting Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Tsunami in 2004, and Madianou (2013) on the Kony 2012 humanitarian campaign video, only looked at the challenges of citizen journalism without necessarily identifying a journalism practice that would complement it (CJ) or serve as a kind of remedy. It is the aim of this chapter to offer a contribution to filling this gap in provision in the context of human rights journalism. Shaw (2012) talks about how human rights journalism can help address the shortcomings of citizen journalism in the promotion of human rights but only uses general examples. This chapter goes further, not only to throw more light on the latest developments in the debate, but to look at a specific case study of the framing of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone by a Facebook discussion forum, to determine the extent of the potential or deficiency of citizen journalism in the promotion of human rights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParticipatory Politics and Citizen Journalism in a Networked Africa
EditorsBruce Mutsvairo
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherMacmillan
Pages262-278
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-56835-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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