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The wrongly painted picture-African’s woe

07.10.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Media spring up in Africa in the days of development.
In the early days of, 1794 the first printing press arrived in Africa in Sierra Leone but it was somehow destroyed before it was ever used.
The journey of the Africa media landscape has been a transformative and an ever-changing one. From the high use of traditional media, the scene has switched to digital media. Although traditional has not been totally scrapped out, the digitalization of media has become the most used and adapted.

The media landscape has expanded rapidly through telecommunications; the use of the internet and mobile phones. The transformation has been a long walk of ups and down to freedom.
Although the transformation did not just happen overnight with the media market, it also extends to the media consumers. Media consumers have also switched to large consumption of online media, however, the traditional media TV and radio is still significant in the media landscape.

The media market is growing more in a diversified manner. Media practitioners are equally improving ways of reportage, that shows a clear indication that the future of the African media landscape is bright. The scene is very different from some years ago; news now travels faster thanks to blogging, tweeting, citizen journalism, etc. As fiber optics have upgraded the telecommunication industry, the internet is faster and less costly making news more time-sensitive and interactive. Although there are great benefits to this new media world, there are also demerits.

Looking at all these media goodies, one questions still linger are we able to tell our stories ourselves as a continent or it is being told for us to amplify it.
Media plays a critical role in society building, its ability to inform, entertain and educate in all aspects of life, it is very useful and builds an informed society. Nevertheless, in the act of reporting news through the media, it is always about storytelling, the narrative of Africa has always been told by others. The western media often tells our story in a different narration and tonation to the world.

Which has for a long time painted Africa in the wrong picture. Some people around the world still believe that people in Africa still live on trees, don’t go to school, don’t have better water, etc. Why? Because that is what is portrayed by western media. They only show the bad sides of Africa, which include war, hunger, diseases, etc. A classic example is how the western media always tell the story of the Middle East like Arab, Pakistan, Iran, etc. The media portrayed to the world that, that part of the world is the most dangerous showing only their war zone activities for years until Aljazeera was established. The media corporation was able to tell their own story portraying both the good and the bad as well as telling their own story in their own terms. The corporation has become an independent instrument that has given a clear picture of the Middle East nations.

Africa needs to own our story too, more often, the international media, who always have an agenda of pushing their markets tell our story in a way that benefits them. Some subsidiary of international media like BBC Africa solely focus on Africa but their underlined objectives to push the BBC brand still stands.
All the media organizations present are established purposeful and independent for each country focusing on national issues, not continent issues.

The rise of a universal media corporation that will serve the African market will go a long way to be extremely beneficial, this pattern will impact the Africa media market heavily, some of these impacts will be the leveraging on diversity, improve roles in broadcasting channels and journalism, having the power balance and market dynamics.
Such corporations should be built without the influence of no western or foreign aid least they will have the hidden power to plan agendas in their favor

The narrative where African media is subtly been forced to rely on international media like Reuter, BBC, CNN should be scrapped; relying on them to tell our own story is be cut out. How can a visitor tell the behavior of a child better than its own mother? International crews are flown into the continent to come cover stories, which are then twisted and told in a way that best suits them.

Investment should be pushed into Africa’s media to be able to establish our own which should be of quality standard having a global relevance, speak and deal with own issues, sell Africa the way we understand best as this will attract business and investors because global investors are in search of emerging markets.
Also, such establishments will help us create local content, generate stories and news for us and about us, as well as meeting quality journalistic standards to compete with the western media markets

Although such transformation will need effective preparation, we as a continent needs to make a move of pulling resources and stakeholders to make this happen. This 21st-century media, Africans need to take our own story and drive it in full force. We must tell our own story as it is, good or bad. Our story cannot be told for us. As the world awaits the full rise of the Africa continent through our media.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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