Displeased with the continuous unenthusiastic reporting on Africa, Salim Amin son of the late veteran photojournalist Mohamed Amin, recently founded Africa TV under the tutelage of his media firm Camerapix Productions. The aim as told to a gathering of former African Heads of State and other delegates at the Witwatersrand University in South Africa is to tell the stories of Africa from an African view point. Thus the media project is targeted at the entire African continent and the rest of the planet in an effort to massage African self confidence and perception. Binyavanga Wainaina, Caine Prize Winner and founder of the widely acclaimed literary journal ‘Kwani?’, in a piece ‘How to Write about Africa’ published in Grantas magazine wrote ‘….prominent ribs, naked breasts, an AK47,…use these’. This perhaps highlights the bitter derision Africans themselves have developed with regard to how international media report on their continent.
Many have advocated for Africa’s balanced reporting whereby both the positive and the negative stories from the continent are covered equally. One prominent advocate for balanced reporting on Africa has been Mr. Chris Ezeh, the founder of ‘EuroAfricaCentral’ Network Germany. Through conferences and forums, Mr. Ezeh has taken the plight of Africa to the international scene. As an African in the Diaspora, he has had to bear the brunt of discrimination due the supposed failures in Africa as an upshot of negative reporting. Scores of Africans in the Diaspora like him believe the recurrent pessimistic coverage of Africa has more to do with malice and prejudice.
Several across the developed world have been fed to the brim with stories of the African continent only being an atoll of starvation, dearth, and wars. Few, for example, are aware that the first space tourist came from Africa. Again, countless don’t believe that there are skyscrapers in Africa. Yet several others are not aware of African innovators such as Professor Calestuos Juma and Professors Philip Emeagwali. Professor Juma, a Kenyan, is based at Harvard and also serves as a Senior United Nations Consultant among other dignified positions. He was recently admitted as a fellow of Royal Society of England. Professor Emeagwali, a world acclaimed computer scientist of Nigerian origin, has been described as the ‘Bill Gates of Africa’ by pundits across the globe for his exploits at the world ICT platform.
Coming on the trail of this crusade against mass international media disparage of Africa, is Reuters Africa Journal. With veteran journalists such as Okwi Okoh, Donna Omulo, Hannington Osodo, Linda Muriuki, Caroline Sawyer, among numerous distinguished others and producer Nina Schwendemann, Africa Journal is setting the pace for international media reporting on Africa. Simply put, it is one of the few international media organizations challenging the status quo. From stories of African lifestyles, successes, to shortcomings, Reuters is indeed a trendsetter in the new drive to report on Africa in a balanced and objective way.
A browse through the Africa Journal stories only goes to show just how much has changed in as far as reporting on Africa is concerned. Journalist Okwi Okoh would interactively hop you from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa and Nigeria in an elfin span. You would get a glimpse at the life of Kenyan sculpture artists, the ICT revolution in Mauritius, the problems afflicting the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as other chronicles of innovators and entrepreneurs in the African continent. What Mr. Ezeh and other like minded media personalities once said that ‘…Africa is not a country…’ is indeed becoming a reality in the light of the Reuters’ initiative.
Analysts insinuate that the recently publicized CNN series ‘Eye on Africa’ may have been triggered by the challenge posed by media personalities and organizations such as Reuters. That Reuters is originally German and an intercontinental media group at that gives it an edge is global reporting. It is widely acknowledged that efforts by such groups as Reuters will go a long way in helping put across the real image of Africa at the global scene. Many would therefore not be scared with sham stories of a continent perpetually at war, under deprivation, cumulative poverty and melancholy.
Japan, China and other Asian Tigers have realized that and are putting in heavy investment into the continent. It is time the rest of the earth joined the Reuters posse in Africa’s balanced and constructive coverage, growth and progress may just be the long awaited answer to global socioeconomic betterment.