29 Jul 2011

Who guards the guards? Scandal and corruption in the UK

The News of the World's last issue, photo from guardian.co.uk
For a keen follower of media issues, the past month was a great time to be visiting the UK. In case you missed it, a huge scandal blew up over illegal practices at the News of the World newspaper, which itself turned into a scandal about the amount of influence News International (the paper's owners) had over the police and senior politicians. The result was what one respected media commentator described as a "revolution".

I won't recount the full story here as it is long enough to fill a book (or two), but I will try to cover the key points in brief before thinking about the story's implications for the Tanzania media. And if you want to understand it in more detail, I would strongly recommend the (UK) Guardian's coverage - it was their journalists who exposed most of this in the first place.

27 Jul 2011

The $100 smartphone in Tanzania?

The $100 smartphone - IDEOS from Huawei
It's been a while since my last post here - a few weeks off work is the reason. I had been intending to get the blog going again with a post on some of the things I was doing while away from the office (various conferences, seminars, etc.), but that will have to wait. Because I'm completely blown away by the new phone I got while on my travels, and it's worth sharing this more widely.

The phone is Huawei's IDEOS Android (Google) smartphone, bought through Safaricom in Kenya, where they sell for $100, unlocked. This makes them the cheapest smartphone available, a lot cheaper than the Blackberries and other high-end smartphones that currently dominate Tanzania's smartphone market. It's less than a quarter of the price of its closest competitor I could find last week in Dar, and cheaper even than most data-enabled phones I could find (with a lot more features and capability).