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NCJ Number: 69556 Find in a Library
Title: Analysis of Crime in Africa by the Mass Media in the 1960's and 1970's
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:43-48
Author(s): J S E Opolot
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper seeks to demonstrate the extent to which the mass media has become a partner in investigating as well as in documenting the crime problem in Africa since the 1960's.
Abstract: Until the late 1960's, the investigation and documentation of crime in Africa was conducted first by anthropologists and later by anthropologists and criminal justice agents. However, these experts were criticized for being controlled by their government employers in making their investigations tilt to government needs rather than to scientific ends. The mass media became a significant partner in the later 1960's and conspicuously so in the late 1970's. Like anthropological and criminal justice reports, mass media coverage has come under public scrutiny. Because mass media in Africa is basically government-controlled or foreign-controlled, crime waves may be perpetuated or eliminated according to how these controllers choose to cover the subject. Sensationalism has become increasingly important, with gleeful exploitation of both trivial incidents and brutal crimes perpetrated by such African leaders as Idi Amin of Uganda. Currently, the suppression of crime news perpetuates dishonesty and distortion of events, although the mass media does have a significant role to play in the study of crime in modern Africa, provided that safeguards are taken to permit full freedom of the press (as outlined in many African constitutions but not practiced) and if more profound understanding of the meaning and causes of crime is sought. Criminology is multidisciplinary and must take its contributions from sociology, law, political science, economics, psychology, and journalism. Twenty references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Africa; Crime patterns; Crime Rate; Media coverage; Media support; Political influences
Note: Paper presented at the African Studies Association. Twenty-Second Annual Convention in Los Angeles (CA), October 31-November 1979
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