E-media in development: Combining multiple e-media types (originally published in February 2003)
This paper, on electronic media's potential contribution to rural development in less-industrialized countries, builds on the content of two earlier First Monday papers: "The Impact of Democratic Deficits on Electronic Media in Rural Development" (April 2002) and "Providing Content and Facilitating Social Change: Electronic Media in Rural Development" (February 2000). The former provides a theoretical argumentation on the influence of democratic deficits on the role of E-media in rural development, supported by case material, whereas the latter presents case material from Peru on how the different types of E-media contribute to rural development in that country. This paper also introduced the "information traffic pattern (ITP)" and "media richness" concepts. The February 2000 paper ends with the conclusion that combinations of different types of E-media are more likely to be successful in contributing to rural development than the isolated use of a single E-media type. Recently, this approach of combining multiple E-media types has been labeled "mixing media" in a paper by Bruce Girard (2002) and the approach is also being used for the "Radio Reed Flute" initiative in Afghanistan, started by Bruce Girard and Jo van der Spek. In this paper, the case for the multiple E-media approach will be made from the perspective of a need for multiple information traffic patterns, a concept introduced and elaborated in the two previous First Monday papers. Based on this theoretical argumentation, the paper will provide suggestions for ways forward for the use of E-media in rural development in less-industrialized countries. Two of the main suggestions are to use existing local radio station as "anchors" in prospective E-media projects in rural development and to establish partnerships between local radio stations and local development NGOs, the latter aimed at stimulating the collection and dissemination of locally generated information.
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