Key highlights of 2008 are measured in terms of teaching, research and professional engagement, included the following:
1. Prof Banda was professionally recognised as Winner of the 2008 MISA Press Freedom Award in October.
2. He hosted a well-attended academic seminar alongside the Highway Africa Conference in September.
3. He was consulted by:
- South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) to rate senior professors in the field of communication, journalism and media studies by evaluating their research outputs.
- Canada’s York University’s Tenure and Promotion File Committee to assess the scholarly work of an academic applying for tenure and promotion.
- Makerere University’s Appointments Board to assess the scholarship of an academic applying for promotion.
5. He published several scholarly works in peer-reviewed books and accredited journals, including ‘African Political Thought as an Epistemic Framework for Understanding African Media’ in Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies 29(1) and ‘Negotiating Journalism Ethics in Zambia: Towards a ‘Glocal’ Ethics’ in Media Ethics Beyond Borders: a Global Perspective edited by SJA Ward and H Wasserman.
6. Prof Banda presented scholarly and professional papers at international conferences as follows:
- January: "Media and Good Governance" at the General Conference of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) in Nassau, the Bahamas. The paper argued for an "open" journalism that embraced civic participation and engagement, challenging "conventional" journalists to rethink their over-professionalised, exclusivist approach to the practice of journalism.
- March: He was invited by Orebro University to deliver a paper entitled "The Challenge of African Journalism Education in the Age of Global Terrorism" at the university's conference on "Media's Role for Democratization in Post-Conflict Countries in the Age of the 'Global War on Terrorism'". The conference was a joint initiative of journalism teachers and researchers in Finland, Norway and Sweden. His paper has been abridged for the Rhodes Journalism Review. It has also been repurposed as a chapter for a forthcoming book.
- May: Invited by UNESCO to attend UNESCO celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Maputo, Mozambique, and present a paper on the African Media Initiative (AMI). The World Press Freedom Day falls on May 3. He led the setting out and public articulation of the comprehensive framework for media assistance that AMI is based upon. AMI is being coordinated by the BBC World Service Trust.
- He was invited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Seattle, USA, to provide an analysis of key trends in media development in Africa and how the foundation could make a strategic contribution towards media development. As a result of my participation in this workshop, the Gates Foundation sent two of its officials to attend the Highway African Conference, especially the pre-conference workshop on the African Regional Forum for Media Development (ARFMD). A further result of this is that the Foundation will support some activities of the Highway Africa Conference and those of AMI.
- He chaired the first session of the UNESCO International Expert Group Meeting in Paris, France. The report of the meeting, entitled “Teacher Training Curricula Enrichment on Media and Information Literacy”, has since been released. This Expert Group will hold meetings as and when there is need. Other experts came from countries such as the UK, Canada, USA, New Zealand, France, among others.
- September: He delivered a paper on "China in the African Mediascape: A Critical Interjection" at the University of Westminster in London, England. The paper highlighted three moments of Chinese insertion into the African media landscape, namely technical support, ideological commitment and cultural engagement. The paper argued for an analysis of these dynamics anchored on a critical perspective that acknowledges both the historical context of Chinese support to African media and the agency of contemporary Africa to evolve a media system that reflects the changing political economy of communication. The paper is billed for publication in the next issue of the Journal of African Media Studies (JAMS).
- He presented a paper on media, democracy and development in Africa at the influential Ditchley Foundation in Oxfordshire, England. The Ditchley Foundation was originally set up as a think-tank to promote the transatlantic alliance between the US and the UK.
- During a session of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) held in Athens, Greece, Prof. Guy Berger and Prof Banda presented a paper aimed at critically assessing the tools available for ‘measuring’ media development. The paper is available on the GFMD web site.