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Madagascar: A Country’s Struggle for Public Discourse Through Media

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  1. Introduction
  2. Independent station Radio Say
  3. Radio in Madagascar
  4. Radio Don Bosco
  5. Telephone and Internet access
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

In independent Madagascar, while citizens celebrate a free media system, their simultaneous struggle for media access puts them at great disadvantage. Formerly a French colony, Madagascar has only had its independence for several decades, little time to build an effective media and communication system. From government-run and privately owned radio and television to the massive telecommunications depreciation in the 1980s, Madagascar has had to fight to compete in the global arena. Throughout the 1990s, the telecommunications industry was able to recover, and in the past few years, new radio stations have been established (CIA). Still, Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world, making it difficult to compete equally with the West (Internews 5).

[...] Journalists need bylaws to which they must adhere, better training, and better equipment, as well as a public awareness of their actions and motives. While media systems in rural Madagascar are not necessarily primitive, telephone and Internet access is sparse and newspaper delivery can take days. Lack of electricity in the highlands and power outages in rainy seasons can restrict radio reception. Radios and batteries can also be fairly expensive compared to average wages (Internews 7). In contrast with comprehensive media access in urban areas like Antananarivo, we gain a better understanding of the nation's media landscape. [...]

[...] While radio in Madagascar is known for its integrity, journalists still face obstacles. For one, many do not have proper journalistic training to supplement their real-world experience. This opens them up to mistakes of slander and false reporting. Equipment at many secular stations is also insufficient due to lack of funding. This makes reporting more difficult and leads to lots of variation in news reporting across the field. Mistakes like those made at Radio Say could be avoided if better training was in place and equipment was in larger, cheaper supply (Internews 9). [...]

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