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Just back from Lagos, Nigeria, where I took part in the second African Media Leadership Forum, which brought together journalists from 46 African countries. New media play a powerful role on the continent, where traditional media face constant government restrictions, over 300 million Africans have cellphones, and locals are being trained to use texting and camera phone video to report from rural areas. Hearing the stories of many of the journalists present was a powerful reminder that, in much of the world, being a journalist requires great courage. "I've been arrested 136 times," a journalist from Cameroon told me. "The government threw grenades into our offices," said a newspaperman from Liberia, "so we went down the street and started another paper." It makes the rheumy bleatings of the likes of Glenn Beck feel even more contemptible and pathetic.

 
 
 

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