Seminar Series: Communication Technologies and International Development

The seminar series gathers leading scholars and practitioners to reflect on the influence of new communication technologies on development processes. The seminars will focus on the dramatic changes in citizens’ ability to coordinate and mobilize for political action, on global migration and its relation to digital media, and on how international and national actors are seeking to shape the applications of technology and communication.

The Information Society Agenda: Prospects and Problem

Robin Mansell discusses dominant approaches by intergovernmental agencies to information society policy and the prospects for introducing critical perspectives that acknowledge the power relations which inform information society strategies and actions.

Speaker: Professor Robin Mansell, London School of Economics

Robin Mansell is Professor of New Media and the Internet at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on how and why people communicate with each other, especially when their relationships are mediated by the use of information and communication technologies. She has a special interest in the relationships between institutional and micro-level change and in technological innovation, inequality and social justice. Her current research focuses on the social, political and economic influences of media and communication policy and regulation, with a special interest in governance arrangements for new media and the Internet. Topics central to her interest include: social and organizational transformation and new technologies; information and communication technology policy, regulation and governance; knowledge networks and innovation systems; and information and communication technologies and development.

ICTs, Innovation and Regulation in the Somali Territories

This seminar will explore technology and regulation in the Somali territories of the Horn of Africa. Despite weak or non-existent government institutions, innovation has flourished with local solutions to local challenges. Money transfer companies have been leading the expansion and investments in ICT development. Mobile banking, inexpensive internet connection, and dozens of media outlets are an unexpected reality in this war-torn region. How are ICTs regulated and the role of the private sector in ICT development, will be explored.

Speaker: Mr Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil

Mr Abdirashid Duale is a British-Somali entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the CEO of the multinational enterprise, Dahabshiil. In September 2012 he was cited by the Africa Report to be among the “50 most influential Africans”. Abdirashid joined his father in the business prior to the outbreak of civil strife in Somalia in 1988, when they were forced to flee the country and make a fresh start. With limited resources and a strong network of contacts they rebuilt their business into one of the largest international money transfer companies in Africa. Abdirashid has worked on expanding Dahabshiil’s reach into new markets and today Dahabshiil employs more than 2,000 people worldwide and has branches in 144 countries spread across five continents.

Humanitarian Campaigns in Social Media: Network Architectures and Kony 2012 as a Polymedia Event

In early March 2012 the Kony 2012 viral video took the world by storm. Attracting over 70 million views in less than a week from its release it was equally criticized and admired as an example of the power of social media. In this talk I will assess the optimism surrounding the opportunities that social media offer for humanitarian action. Drawing on the analysis of the phenomenally popular and controversial Kony 2012 campaign I observe that the architectures of social networking sites orientate action at a communitarian level which heightens their post-humanitarian style (Chouliaraki, 2012). However, an emerging new genre of reporting and commenting which I term “polymedia events” can potentially extend beyond the limitations of SNS communication by opening up the space for reflexivity and dialogical imagination.

Speaker: Dr Mirca Madianou, University of Leicester

Mirca Madianou is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Her research examines the role of new communication technologies in the context of migration and transnational families in particular. She is the author of two books and several journal articles on new media and long distance relationships; migration and transnationalsm; media and nationalism; audiences (particularly the audiences for news media); and the role of emotions in mediated communication. Her research has been funded by the ESRC, ESF, the Mellon Foundation and CRASSH, Cambridge.

Price Moot Court Middle East Rounds in Qatar

The Price Media Law Moot Court – Middle East Regional Rounds is organized by PCMLP and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication as part of a larger effort to to strengthen media law and policy research, teaching, and practice in Qatar and the Middle East. Building on the strengths of the inaugural competition in February 2012, the second round will take place in Doha 18-21 February 2013. The competition will be held at Al Jazeera. Teams that are successful in these regional rounds will qualify to go on to participate in the 2013 International Rounds in Oxford.

We are grateful for the support of our partners, Qatar University, Annenberg School for Communication and AlJazeera Media Training & Development Center.

For more information, please see:

Disjunctures and Connections: Case Studies of How Techno-politics Make and Cut Networks

Drawing on case study material, the paper focuses on ways in which definitions of ‘media’ and other technical objects act to promote or prevent ‘connection’. In a development context, the ways in which new media objects such as ICTs are defined in relation to other objects, people and institutions map out new figurations of power and connection, or new ‘technological zones’ (Barry), that revalue and recombine political agency. Consideration of the politics of technology needs to be moved away from seeing ICTs as neutral tools to be enabled or as problematic interventions to be contained; rather, we need to be able to make visible and negotiable the possible communicative assemblages that might be produced.

Speaker: Dr Don Slater, London School of Economics

Don Slater is a Reader in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Don Slater’s Internet research has focused on ethnographic approaches to the new media, and has so far included an ethnography of Internet use in Trinidad – The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach, with Prof Daniel Miller (Berg: 2000); and a study of on-line pornography traders. He conducted an ethnography of community radio and internet in rural Sri Lanka (with Peter Lewis, LSE, and Jo Tacchi, QUT, under the auspices of UNESCO and DfID), which has been followed by a UNESCO programme of ethnographic action research with nine ICT projects in South Asia, and a two-year DfID-funded programme of comparative ethnographies of new media in India, Ghana, South Africa and Jamaica (with Daniel Miller, Jo Tacchi and Andrew Skuse).

Development 2.0 and beyond: Challenges for ICT4D in 2013

The discipline of ICT4D has never appeared more, or less, relevant. On the one hand, technology has become unprecedentedly pervasive, plastic, mobile, and cheap; increasingly based on open standards, emerging, platform-based architectures beckon towards an empowered era of development hubs, mashups, and commercial and social enterprise that increasingly offer those in emerging economies an independent, ‘continuous beta’ of thought and activity. On the other, it might be said that such positive developments challenge those working in ICT4D, and even ‘development’ itself, to engage in a new way with people who are increasingly ‘doing it for themselves’. In this talk, I will try to address some of the opportunities and contradictions presented by this tension, and consider some emerging ways in which ICT4D researchers may contribute to the field.

Speaker: Dr Mark Thompson, University of Cambridge

Mark Thompson is Senior Lecturer in Information Systems at the University of Cambridge. He has sixteen years of information systems and change management consultancy experience, including four years with Andersen Consulting (Accenture). He is currently a Director of Methods Consulting, a UK top 20 business and IS consultancy. He is also a Main Board Member of Intellect, the UK’s leading technology trade association. In 2007-2008 Mark was a senior adviser to the UK Shadow Cabinet under George Osborne, for whom he delivered an influential report proposing widespread adoption of open standards in government IT that has since become policy. Mark was credited by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude as having laid the foundation for the government’s current procurement strategy and has subsequently authored, co-authored, or significantly influenced a series of a series of white papers, policy documents, and a parliamentary committee Expert Report. Such documents include think-tank document Better for Less, which formed the strategy for Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, a journal article that has been widely shared in government, the Government IT Strategy, and the Government Strategic Implementation Plan. Mark is a regularly invited industry and government speaker, and is also pioneering these ideas in practice through his London-based consultancy Methods, where he is delivering radical transformational organisational blueprints for over 10 pathfinding government organisations.

Price Moot Court International Rounds in Oxford

The 6th Price Moot Court Competition International Rounds are taking place in Oxford in April.  40 teams from around the world will compete in front of some of the most prominent figures in media law, and international benches of judges from different legal systems and backgrounds.Participating countries include: Australia, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Kenya, Singapore and Ukraine and many more.For more information about the competition, see:

Media Law after Leveson

This workshop will examine the legal issues raised by Lord Justice Leveson’s recently published Report into the Culture, Practices, and Ethics of the Press, triggered by the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.As pressure mounts on the government to implement the proposals for reform of press regulation, a roundtable of experts in media law scholars will assess the legal issues raised by the Report, including the role of the new regulator, the relationship between press and politicians, data protection, and the public interest.

The workshop will cut through the political rhetoric surrounding the debate and offer an indepth legal analysis of the principles underpinning the proposed reforms, in order to provide a set of fresh contributions to the debate on press regulation in the UK.

For further details and registration, please visit the Event webpage of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society:

Symposium on ICTs, Governance and Peace-building in Eastern Africa

Organised by PCMLP, the Centre for Global Communications Studies, University of Pennsylvania and the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT), Strathmore University Law School

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have developed very distinctive approaches to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for governance and peace-building. While the Ethiopian government has sought to capture and monopolize ICTs to support its political agenda, increasing service delivery but minimizing political dissent, in Somalia ICTs and innovation have thrived even in the absence of a central government with multiple internet and telecommunications providers competing to offer access at some of the cheapest prices on the continent. Kenya has emerged as Africa’s innovation hub, but has also faced significant challenges as it has sought to implement extraordinarily ambitious projects, as most recently seen during the 2013 elections when the voting tallying system failed, risking to spark tensions across the country.

On 25-26 April scholars from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Strathmore University (Kenya), Simad University (Somalia), CIPESA (Uganda), University of Pennsylvania (USA) and Oxford University (UK) will gather in Nairobi to examine the reasons behind the radically different approaches these three neighbors have developed towards ICTs and draw comparative lessons that can be extended to other countries in the continent. The workshop is part of a two-year project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York on Eliciting and Applying Local Knowledge on Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Africa.

Participants include: Abdikarim Mohaidin Ahmed, Simad University, Somalia; Abdi Aynte, Heritage Institute of Policy Studies, Somalia; Isaac Rutenberg, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT), Strathmore University Law School, Kenya; Douglas Gichuki, CIPIT; Christopher Ndungu, CIPIT; Nathan Tuimising, CIPIT; Zenebe Beyene, Addis Ababa University; Abdissa Zerai, Addis Ababa University; Ashnah Kalemera, CIPESA; Lillian Nalwoga, CIPESA; Wakabi Wairagala, CIPESA; Yikunnoamlak Mezgebu Zerabiruk & Gebeyehu Bekele Estifanose, Addis Ababa University; Lauren Kogen, University of Pennsylvania; Iginio Gagliardone, Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP), University of Oxford; Nicole Stremlau, PCMLP.

Selected sessions will be open to students and other interested participants.  For further information, please contact Iginio Gagliardone: