Many media institutions serve the colonising empire in both how they were design and used historically. They were intend to promote the colonisers ideology in colonies.
Some print and electronic media are still at the service and support of imperialism and colonialism today. They are the legacy of colonialism, coloniality. These patterns of power persist long after the end formal colonialism. This has a negative effect. This reflects the progressive role of media institutions as places for sharing ideas and knowledge about modern society.
I am now asking: Can we decolonise the largest global communication platform today, the internet? The process is not linear. However, any attempt to understand the process must begin with how the internet spreads information and ideas about Africa.
To me, decolonisation is a shift away from viewing the world as a single universe to see it as a pluriverse, multiple worlds that exist side-by-side, inhabited by people who are actively seeking to free themselves from colonial power imbalances which have characterized the modern world. This is what the internet should look like: a communication tool that accurately represents these pluriverses.
Ancestors Of Media
It is important to understand the history of the internet and its predecessors – other institutions for communication when discussing decolonisation. My research interests lie in media studies and the history of media institutions. I am also interest in how decolonization might happen.
It is important to know the history of colonization before you can think about decolonisation. What is its current manifestation? What happens to its afterlife in the aftermath of settlement or direct extraction by colonial societies?
The internet should be understood as a space that reflects the continuity and discontinuities of colonial heritage. It can both reproduce and change the way people see the world.
Power Structures Media
Frantz Fanon, a philosopher, was one of those who thought about the colonial nature radio’s ancestor internet. He talked about the role that radio played in the larger colonial project in Algeria and the place Radio Algiers occupied. Radio Algiers was a French radio station that operated in Algeria for many decades. It was a reprint of the Paris-based French National Broadcasting System. Fanon wrote this 1959:
Radio was widely regard by European farmers as a link to civilized world and an effective tool of resistance against the corrosive influences of an inert indigenous society, a society without a future, devoid of values, and society without a backward or forward-looking society.
History has shown us that communication platforms can be influence by ideologies. We must be aware of the current role play by communication platforms.
The internet is today the default source of information, opinions, and knowledge for many societies. It’s also the default gatekeeper for knowledge in modern society.
The internet is literally a place where people can share ideas about themselves and others – especially about each other, according to the power structures of global order: global South against global North, colonial subject vs colonising subject.
One could be view as lacking morals, evil, savage, or uncivil by the ideas that spread via the internet. This is the true power of the internet as an information medium: It supports or disturbs knowledge about the globe.
Media Knowledge Systems
The internet can also be use to share knowledge. It creates and spreads ideas, which can be consciously or unconsciously shaped one’s perception of the world. Technology has not advanced significantly in the global South, and especially Africa. The continent has limited internet access, with its eastern and central regions being the most affected.
The internet has been a medium for the transmission of knowledge, but Africa has only played a small role. It therefore reasonable to suggest that the internet’s knowledge about Africa and Africans should be continually question. The question of whether the internet alters the narrative about Africa that has been establish by the West and colonial governments needs to be explored further. Or does it reinforce these narratives and understandings
The internet’s coloniality means that the African subject, which has a limited representation online, is still explained using an imperialistic knowledge outlook. Because of this, the continent and its people are largely unheard and unseen online. They are written and spoken about. Others on the internet can package their knowledge. This is all done by subjects who largely live in neo colonial or imperialistic geographies.
All of this ties together the narratives described by Edward Said in his observation:
The colonized people were characterized by poverty, dependence, underdevelopment, and various pathologies that lead to power and corruption. They also had notable achievements in war literacy, economic development, and other characteristics.
A Greater Understanding
To me, decolonizing the internet means recognising the past of colonialism and its presence even in systems and platforms that are most progressive poker pelangi.
It’s to grasp the coloniality and knowledge of today’s world, as well as to come to terms the hidden power matrix. Recognizing the uneven distribution of internet access and the implications of this for those who use the internet to find knowledge is essential. This is how the internet undermines the people the world has long considered invisible and unheard.