The digital manipulation debate: Africa challenging the dominant paradigm.
Paper presented to Seminar on Ethics, Media Code of Practice and Journalism Training in Africa, Accra,
      by Guy Berger, 20 -23 September, 1999.


The pursuit of truth has been a powerful rallying point for Africa's journalists struggling against the odds for freedom of expression. While political controls have been the major problem from this vantage point, a new "threat" has arisen from the nature of digital imaging technology which is widely seen as capable of "manipulating" the truth. The journalistic ethic upheld in consequence is to cling fast to truthfulness. This paper argues, however, that the notion of "truth", and the corresponding understanding of "manipulation" distracts from the nature of all meanings as constructed. It goes further to suggest that once the constructivist premise is accepted, it becomes possible to construct an alternative journalism that offers richer and deeper service to audiences in Africa.



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