Friday, May 27, 2005

Media on Africa

The International Press Institute held its 54th General assembly in Nairobi last week. The theme of the assembly was, 'Reporting Africa'. In his speech at the assembly, the Rwandese President Paul Kagame deplored the negative portrayal of Africa by the International media. Why, he wondered, was the image of Africa was that of poverty, famine, disease, corruption and civil wars, while it was a continent blessed with one of the oldest cultures and most diverse wildlife.

Why indeed?! Could it perhaps be because poverty, famine, disease, corruption and civil wars are prevalent?! It's just a thought, only a thought. Can anyone dispute those adverse stories? Surely not! How typical of African leaders to change the subject rather than address difficult issues! The president proposed culture, wildlife, and the strides that Africa is undertaking to change its face as alternative topics for coverage.
In respect of culture and wildlife, the president should know that every continent has its own. How often does he see news coverage of Britain, Pakistan, China, or The U.S of A's culture and wildlife? Why should Africa be judged using a different standard? Does he mean to say that Africa isn't good enough to be judged by the same standard as every other continent. How can we expect to be taken seriously be anyone? Doesn't that perpetuate the idea that we are inferior?
In my very informed opinion, international coverage of Africa is not nearly as bad as it could be. Fortunately for African leaders news constitutes a movement away from the norm. Imagine how much worse the coverage would be if dilapidated infrastruture, political intimidation, repression of civil rights and media freedom, to mention but a few ills, were not the norm? I don't mean to imply that the nothing changes. Things change but for most people,they only get worse. The reason such changes aren't news worthy is that they occur by degrees.
The president added that Africans must take responsibility for the sorry state of our affairs.He said that unless Africans begin to portray themselves in a good manner that they are capable of, the international media will continue to portray a negative image of the continent.
How i wonder can we portray ourselves in a "good manner" without deluding ourselves?!

The president also wondered why the continent has stagnated economically, despite its endowment with abundant natural resources.
That is a question best answered by our beloved leaders i should think!!


At June 07, 2005 8:32 AM , Blogger kakarizz said...



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