Journal of African Cultural Studies vol:25 issue:1 pages:57-71
This article deals with the relationships between politicians and journalists that undergird newscasts in Kinshasa, and aims at analysing how these produce “news.” The premise of the analysis is that “news” is a cultural genre of which the design and content depend both on the political culture of a society and on its dominant modes of sociality. By analysing ethnographic material on journalists’ relationships with elite sources, I hope to enlarge our understanding of how information is channeled and travels in contemporary urban African spaces, of which many have profoundly changed since the liberalisation of the mass media in the 1990s. Currently, there is a strong polarization in the Congolese press (pro- or anti-Kabila). Yet, a first general tendency in the work of Kinshasa’s TV journalists is that they all work with politicians; more specifically, they enter into patron-client relationships with leaders. A second feature of the social world of Kinshasa’s journalists is that they often experience risk and fear in their work and in their private lives. These two components of the lifeworlds and work of Kinshasa’s journalists will be explored in this article.