Telling the African Story: from TVC's eyes

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When I was filling out my application for university, there was an editorial that I carried with me pretty much everywhere I went. It was about how good and pleasant it would be if the nations of Africa came together and sponsored a 24hr a day news channel that would cover African stories from an African perspective.

At the time, if I remember correctly, there was supposed to be some sort of conference to work out the modalities of bringing such an idea to fruition, but as far as I know the initiative died, with nothing to show for its efforts.

Fast forward ~8 years later and I discovered that a certain Nigerian entrepreneur had gone ahead and launched a 24hr news channel, that claimed to be delivering on the promise that most governments (perhaps with the exception of South Africa through SABC) had reneged on, of giving Africa a voice on the global stage.

The channel in question is TVC news, which I understand has secured space on  British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY) in the U.K., Naspers Ltd. (NPN)’s DSTV in Nigeria, Multi TV in Ghana,  TopTV and DSTV in South Africa, DISH Network Corp. (DISH) in the U.S. and Wananchi Group Ltd in Kenya. The channel promotes itself on the mantra of telling African news through African eyes.

A TVC news anchor telling the story through African eyes (Source: TVC News)

From what I have seen, they certainly make a good fist of making African issues a priority. For example while most of the other global news networks hardly covered it, TVC made a point of providing wall to wall coverage of the most recent Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria.

While most networks are only likely to cover an African election, if the proverbial shit hits the fan, TVC has made a point of giving an in depth analysis of the campaign issues, candidates and the environment within which the upcoming elections are taking place.

Thus defeating the perception that  Africans are somehow irrationally violent people looking for the smallest excuse to engage in massive crimes against humanity, as opposed to real people with real grievances, fears and hopes.

Another thing I noted was the preference for local reporters, sources and pundits to tell the story, as opposed to parachuting an all knowing expat.

Their magazine shows, also managed to give a platform to hard working, entrepreneurial, and idealist Africans, whose stories could very well have been smothered by the dominant fatalism that tends to dominate discussion of African affairs

However, the final product was still to some extent as negative as some of the networks we complain about in Africa, given that ultimately most of their news content was on the ongoing problems with terrorism, Ebola, food insecurity and so on.

In truth, whether we like it or not, there are some terrible things happening in Africa, and they have to be reported. In the fullness of time, we in Africa have to find ways to preventing these catastrophes from happening to begin with, Nonetheless it is encouraging that somebody out there actually put there money where there mouth is as far as shifting the paradigm on how the World views Africa.

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