Africa: Who will tell our stories?

4 Min Read

Its almost become a norm. Whenever you want to get concise news about an event that has happened whether foreign or domestic, you switch to BBC, Aljazeera, and/or CNN (Though the latter has mostly lost its credibility of late). These outlets seem to have more researched or better delivered news. Our local stations are more likely to regurgitate whatever the state tells them or heavily sanitize the proceedings as to make the whole process anaemic.

Of Course the media does not live in the vacuum. The Govt remains the biggest spender in this part of the world anyway. So the money always talks. However govt control of the media is widespread even in bastions of “Democracy” such as the US.

So this is really not a valid reason to totally avoid being critical of the government despite the blatant breaches of the law, ethos and spirit of justice.

But maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised.  At least 2 media houses are owned by the powers that be and who knows what kind of murky deals are struck for cross ownership amongst the players. The most evident symptom of this is the cartel like behaviour that was exhibited by the unified front the 3 major TV stations fronted in opposition to the legislated move from Analogue transmission to Digital. The fight has dragged out in court for years now and is still being debated though the global deadline is in June 2015.

I have digressed into ranting though and this wasn’t my intention. Got home today to the news that 12 people in the French capital of Paris have lost their lives in an execution by some allegedly Islamist fellows. I say Allegedly because shouting islamist slogans doesn’t make you one. Good way to frame them though.

The target was the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper that has poked fun at Mohammed the Prophet amongst other characters. They are obviously not too popular amongst the Muslim community and they have been petrol bombed before.

Ofcourse to understand exactly what happened I switched to BBC and flipped to Aljazeera periodically. Aljazeera was rather peculiar in their reporting kinda painting the attackers as superior intelligence wise and so I stopped watching them. Weird vibes. The news coverage has been total. On all western media.

Meanwhile, 200 girls were abducted in Nigeria and a re still at large. Boko Haram have taken over towns, barracks, and are routinely murdering, looting and doing heaven knows wat else in Northern Nigeria. The most our Media does is to cover it as a snippet of  the international news segment with more emphasis on the Charlie Hebdo incident. The fact that 200 daughters have been abducted by a group whose name is basically anti Education does not warrant enough media coverage.

So who will tell our stories if we are not willing to?

BBC will obviously. And it will consist of whatever they want for the most part. Hunger, disease, low intelligence, Daft Despots, smiling dancing africans next to their hats, no need for technology, in touch with nature and such related crap.

Of Course there are elements of all the above existing in some kinds of degrees across the continent but as the Ebola crisis showed, Ignorance is mostly a Western affair. Many Westerners will not venture to Africa and their only method of consumption of this mysterious continent will be via the TV sets and Magazines. Same for many Africans. Alot think Europe is glamourous and a wonderful paradise,  until they land without a jacket.

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