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Accepted Paper:

Where have ‘the Grogneurs’ gone ? : Online Politics from Below in the 21st century of Benin.  
Tanaka Masataka

Paper short abstract:

We examine how the public space of media in Benin advances people's dialogue in the change from participatory programming on radio to social media pages. As discontent moves from mass media to internet sites due to the political situations, we explore the possibilities of Online Politics from Below.

Paper long abstract:

People in Africa have recently been using mobile phones, which has greatly changed the way they communicate. In Benin, people can listen to the radio and watch TV with mobile phone, which makes programming more easily accessible than ever. Since the democratic turn in 1990, several private stations have opened with entertainment and participatory programs, so called “talk radio,”which have enabled people to publicly talk.

There are so many programs in which audience calls in to express their complaints of everyday life. The programs appeal to the audience, what we call Grogneurs, and allow them to express anything they want to say as there is a freedom of speech, which has empowered the development of democracy of Benin. In this communicative interaction, so called a public sphere, the audience who accuse government offices and politicians of injustice have the desire of criticizing and rebelling against authority.

However, in such model country for democratization, the situation has become more difficult in recent years. Since taking office, the current administration has gradually become authoritarian and controlled critical opinions. The government has controlled not only the opposition in parliament, but also the private media and the general public. Restrictions on media coverage have also tightened, prompting public opinion to seek alternative venues. Thus, in recent years, particularly young web activists have emerged who communicate directly to the public via social media. In this presentation, I would like to examine the possibility of digital activism through media and Online ‘politics from below’.

Panel Anth25
Media forerunners: reflecting on emerging socio-political youth leadership in times of conflict and digitalization
  Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -