Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tanzanian online media is growing fast

The second day of the training is soon over, and we have again been working hard at the computer classroom at SUZA. Here’s my own briefing.

In the morning, we visited the blogs and worked a bit on them so everyone would have his or her own blog, and I showed how to customize and edit the posts or layout.

Some participants had been fast. See for example the postings from Monday afternoon by Mohammed Othman Abdulrahman, graphic designer at Zanzibar Leo newspaper. Here’s his short introductory posting and here’s a photo of Forodhani Gardens at the seaside of the Zanzibar Stone Town.

After some soda na keki, I showed some statistics on the use of internet in different world regions. The overall leader today is Asia with some 740 million internet users, followed by Europe where there are about 420 million users. Africa is yet low in the world statistics, but here the growth is today the fastest. The number of internet users in Africa has tripled in the last three years from 22 million to 67 million people. We also had a good discussion on reasons why neighbouring Kenya has some seven times more internet users than Tanzania: differences in economic development and also the language, as English is quite commonly spoken in Kenya. For the statistics themselves, see the website Internet World Statistics.

Then we have gone through some dozens of media websites, both local Tanzanian and international news sites and other web resources. Tanzanian online media is developing fast. In 2006, IPP Media was the only media house that regularly published news material on a website, but now there are more than 20 newspapers and TV stations online, the latest player in the field being the sports newspaper Spoti Starehe. For international news, in addition to the Kiswahili services of BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, we also visited IPS News, Al Jazeera, allAfrica.com, Pambazuka News, to mention a few.

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