Senegalese newspapers have “missed the opportunities of the digital age” as they have not created technological innovations to depart from the all-out use of paper, Professor Abdoulaye Sakho, a lecturer at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (UCAD) has said.
“The digital opportunity was missed by the written press in Senegal, and the persistent use of paper printing has slackened the development of technological innovation, and very few initiatives have been taken to add value,” said Professor Sakho who was speaking at the 4th edition of the ‘Digital Tuesdays’ forum held in Dakar on the topic: “The Media in the Digital Age: Regulation or Free Expansion?”
The conferences are organized by the African Performance Institute, an association aimed at enhancing the digital world within Africa, according to Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, the chairman of the institute.
All sectors must from now on deal with the emergence of one or more digital companies that are changing traditional methods, Professor Sakho pointed out, before stressing the need for the audio-visual press to change its paradigm since the digital technology has prompted a real technological revolution, and the compression of the data allows the multiplication of channels broadcasting on the same TV transmission.
“With the digital media, the media are confronted with the risks in the national audio-visual production markets and risks in public television, with the disappearance of the analogue networks and the appearance of digital transmission channels,” Pr Abdoulaye Sakho warned.
Eddine Diagne, for his part, believes access to information has become a challenge in the digital age, since a piece of information can emanate from anyone, and the consumer is not always able to know whether the source is reliable or not.
According to the scholar, “there are new challenges linked to the source of information. Today, the press and the government no longer have a monopoly on the sources of information; a situation which arouses new concerns in terms of ethics, moral integrity, pressure and influence, privacy, individual independence and security.”
Cheikh Gueye, coordinator of the strategic common platform of Enda Tiers Monde, also feels the traditional press is being challenged by digital and social networks.
In his context, the digital technology plays an important role in enabling the rapid dissemination of information, even if it clears the way for all possibilities in terms of opportunities and drifts, he said.
“With the emergence of digital technologies, we are witnessing a generalization of the role of journalists. Anyone can claim to be a journalist, and can broadcast any content,” he concluded.