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Prospects and Challenges for Catholic Press in Africa From DIGITAL DIVIDE to DIGITAL BRIDGE.

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Presentation on theme: "Prospects and Challenges for Catholic Press in Africa From DIGITAL DIVIDE to DIGITAL BRIDGE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prospects and Challenges for Catholic Press in Africa From DIGITAL DIVIDE to DIGITAL BRIDGE

2 FOCUS OF THE PRESENTATION This presentation takes a technological approach. It shows: How the provision of submarine optic fibre cables on African coasts is turning the situation in Africa from a digital divide to a digital bridge.

3 ORDER OF PRESENTATION 1.Building the Digital Bridge 2.Prospects/Opportunities 3.Challenges and Problems 4.Recommendation

4 ABOUT SUBMARINE (UNDERSEA) FIBER OPTIC CABLES 1. Undersea fiber optic cables: - carry international traffic (voice, data, and video) across the world - operate at high speeds (Gbps, Tbps) -The worlds fastest means of international communication 2. Compared to satellite networks: - fiber optic networks are faster in speed - have more capacity to carry traffic, - more cost-effective - provide cheaper rates than satellites. - Carry 95% of the worlds international traffic (satellites carry 5%) 3. On the Digital Divide: -the developed world is well connected on fiber optic networks - the developing world (especially Africa) is significantly cut off, relying on very expensive and less available satellite communications - This situation is at the core of the Digital Divide.

5 The Alcatel map of global optic fiber network

6 BUILDING THE DIGITAL BRIDGE Cables in the Sea

7 1.BUILDING THE DIGITAL BRIDGE

8 BUILDING THE DIGITAL BRIDGE:

9 ATLANTIS-2 CABLE Started Operation: 1991 Bandwidth Capacity: 40Gigabits/sec Length of cable: 12,000 km

10 SAFE CABLE -Started Operation: Bandwidth Capacity: 130 Gigabits/sec - Length of cable: 13,104 km SAT-3/WASC -Started Operation: Bandwidth Capacity: 120 Gigabits/sec - Length of cable: 14,350 km SAFE = South Africa Fast East SAT-3 = South Atlantic (cable 3) WASC = West Africa Submarine Cable

11 SEACOM CABLE Started Operation: 2009 Bandwidth Capacity: 1.28 Tbits/sec Length of cable: 15,000 km

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13 African Year of Digital Expansion BUILDING THE DIGITAL BRIDGE: Year 2010

14 GLO-1 CABLE -Started Operation: Bandwidth Capacity: 2.5Tbps - Length of cable: 10,000 km

15 EASSY CABLE -Started Operation: Bandwidth Capacity: 3.84 Tbps - Length of cable: 10,100 km Eassy: Eastern African Submarine Cable System

16 MAIN-ONE CABLE -Started Operation: Bandwidth Capacity: 1.28 Tbps - Length of cable: 12,000 km

17 2. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CATHOLIC PRESS IN AFRICA 2.1. Welcome to the Digital Areopagus Venerable John Paul II described the modern media as the Areopagus of our time where the gospel is preached, in reference to St. Paul who preached at the Areopagus (Acts 17:22-23; Redemptoris Missio, #37). Today, we can appropriately speak of the Internet as the "Digital Areopagus The digital bridge which has now arrived Africa, is linking Catholic press in Africa to the Digital Areopagus. With the digital Areopagus, Catholic press in Africa can : provide Catholic voice in the digital society provide Catholic contents that are adapted to todays mobile computing devices which provide timely connection anytime, anywhere. provide digital opportunities for the Church to engage the larger society by offering a voice and reflection on issues affecting society.

18 2. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CATHOLIC PRESS IN AFRICA 2.2. African Food for All: Local Contents for Global Audience With this digital bridge, Catholic press in Africa now has more capabilities to become contributors of African contents to the global audience. The digital bridge repositions Africa: from being only a beneficiary to becoming a donor of information contents to the global audience; From a passive receiver to an active contributor; From a mere spectator in the stadium of global media to a key player in global media.

19 2.3. The Global Desination: The e-Press for Africa With the arrival of the digital bridge and with a very large population of religiously active young people, Africa is positioned to be the global destination for Catholic online mobile press, the e-Press. The e-Press has tremendous benefits over the paper offset press. - Offset is limited in distribution in Africa, but the e-press will reach the millions in Africa who are thirsty for the Word of God - Offset is not available every where, but e-press is mobile and ubiquitous (connecting people anytime, anywhere) - Offset is expensive to readers, but with web I can read as many newspapers and spiritual materials as I want. - Offset is less interactive, but e-press provides readers the opportunity to make comments on news, thereby growing the news, and helping to shape public opinion. - Offset reports the past, but e-press provides live news with regular updates by the minute 2. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CATHOLIC PRESS IN AFRICA

20 2. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CATHOLIC PRESS IN AFRICA 2.4. Pastoralization of the Internet The Internet has been socialized (e.g. virtual communities, social networking such as facebook). The Internet has been commercialized (buying, selling, business, etc). But the Internet is not very much pastoralized. With a fast growing Church in Africa, this is a great opportunity. Pastoralizing the Web will include: 1. Effective web presence of Catholic Press 2. Providing an alternative and objective interpretation of life /events in society, compared to secular Internet press 3. Providing opportunities for Catholic pastoral agents to do e-ministries on the web, e.g. the e-pulpit designed by the Dominicans in Nigeria.

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22 2. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CATHOLIC PRESS IN AFRICA 2.5. Rewriting the Bold Lines: Positive Reporting of Africa Much of the media reporting on Africa by overseas media is about disease, war, political crisis, etc. However, there is a lot of positive contributions by the Church in Africa but which remains largely unreported in the global news arena. The Digital Bridge, through growing faster Internet access, now offers the Catholic Press in Africa the opportunity of a global outreach, to remake the image of Africa, to highlight the tremendous work of the Church in Africa.

23 3. CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS 3.1. Non-Priority for Communication In many dioceses in Africa, media apostolate is not a priority. The intimate connection between the Catholic press and pastoral engagements still needs more emphasizing. It is hard to find full-time directors/promoters of communication, because most of them are full-time parish priests. So the media work suffers. Many lay Catholic experts who could fill this gap go for better paid jobs in the secular media.

24 3.2. Lack of Effective Web Presence The world is turning to the web for interaction. Many of our young people have gone before us to the web, looking for answers. But Catholic press in Africa has not adequately responded to this phenomenal attraction of the young to the digital space. Most Catholic media projects are yet to harness capabilities of the web. 3. CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS

25 3. CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS 3.3. Searching for Resources, for collaboration and Integration There are many beautiful media ideas which are not translated into concrete action because the resources (human and financial) are not available. The are a lot a talented African media experts (priests, religious and lay persons), but such talents are not harnessed and integrated into a strategic scheme of media apostolate. There are a number of vibrant and very successful media projects in Africa which can provide effective collaboration with others, but such resources have not be promoted.

26 4. RECOMMENDATION From Idea to Action: Strategic Plan In view of the opportunities of utilizing the digital media to preach the gospel, and in the light of the media challenges in Africa, what is extremely urgent today is the development of a strategic plan for Catholic press in Africa.

27 Strategic Plan The Strategic Plan will consider the following: -The urgency of engagement in the Digital Areopagus -The Prospects and challenges of e-Press for Africa, and the talents in Africa to harness the required capabilities. -Specific projects that will address our challenges -Promoting news exchange in Africa -Promote collaboration among African experts and entities -Identifying and tapping into the resources of Catholic institutions that train pastoral agents for Internet/Web ministry, e.g the Dominican Institute, Ibadan, Nigeria 4. RECOMMENDATION

28 THE END: …But the Beginning of e-Africa… Fr. Mike Akpoghiran, OP Dominican Institute, Ibadan, Nigeria


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