It is sad that in Africa, where the Christian Churches spearheaded the alphabetization and the establishment of printing presses, the Church Media have not been able to keep up with the demographic growth, the progress of technology, the fast changing culture. From its prestigious, if not influential, position of a few decades ago, the Church Press is now marginalized, and in many countries it is totally irrelevant.
For example some prestigious periodicals disappeared, like Afrique Nouvelle, which was published in Dakar (Senegal) and used to reach almost all Francophone Africa. Because of external factors , such as lack of a proper communication system in the country - others lost importance or incisiveness as is the case of DIA in Kinshasa (Zaire), the only Catholic News Agency in Africa. Others had difficulties with politics or finances, as it happened to the Uganda's Munno, an influential daily.
In Zambia the weekly ecumenical National Mirror plugs along with a very limited circulation. New initiatives - like the ecumenical monthly Challenge in South Africa - and the determination to resurrect glorious title from the past - as in the case of L'Effort Camerounais in Douala (Cameroun) face great difficulties.
In the first article of this issue our correspondent Renato Kizito Sesana reflects on the closure of another Christian monthly publication, Mwananchi in Nairobi (Kenya), drawing some lessons and indicating a vision.
In Zambia, as our correspondent Moses Mbulo reports, Christians are worried that Western media imports corrupt the morals and culture of their youth. The Western media are seen to be only interested in profit with no time and space for moral values. The role of the media in the shaping of a new society and culture is questioned.
How is Africa pictured in the foreign media? The answer is far from encouraging. Boro Klan provides an insight. Poverty, war, tribalism and the incredible riches amassed by the African leaders are the most reported themes.
Beatrix Nyakisumo and Maurice Onyango write about the survival of the traditional African custom of "wife inheritance", a major topic of debate in Kenya, especially within the Luo community. The lives of many people are affected by it. First Kenyan woman High Court Judge, Justice Effie Owuor, a widow, has challenged this custom and raised a lot of controversy.
In Tanzania education and employment are a focus of concern for policy makers and a problem, sometimes an impossible dream, for most of the population. Education is becoming more and more expensive and many families cannot afford to send their children to school. On the other hand jobs are not available, even for graduates who have undergone many years of expensive formal education.
In Southern Africa, Botswana, the powerful and rich in the community are accused of being behind the ritual murders of children. People want to see action so that whoever is responsible is brought to book.
In Senegal, important landmarks of the slave trade era are being identified for preservation as historical sites. Africa cannot afford to lose the memory of its past.