n Conflict Trends - Raising Africa and the paradox of its media image : can African journalists finally rescue the situation?

Volume 2013, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


In an increasingly globalised world, border porosity between nations has heightened, leading to new levels of interdependence between states as never witnessed before. The effect of this is the massive transnational flow of goods, people, technology and information, which has contributed to increased awareness in cultures and exchange of ideas that were previously enclosed and segmented. The free flow of information beyond national borders also translates to change in the action of, among others, the mass media - due to the fact that besides it being an agent of the process, it is also influenced. More content diversity and cross-border partnerships are therefore some of the expected changes in the sector, calling for more research, professionalism and strict observance of media ethics while handling such a bulk of diverse information.

As transnational events unfold, reports of new levels of optimism concerning Africa's development and portrayal in the international media have also been witnessed. Topping the list is an unexpected example of a shift in stand by magazine, which about a decade ago referred to Africa as the hopeless continent, to a now hopeful one - something that has been echoed by magazine. This was a surprise to many. The motivation behind the new title can be understood based on historical events concerning Africa's image in the international - mostly Western - media in the past decades, which generated both controversy and debate, characterised by counter-accusations on the fairness of such reports.
It is against this backdrop that this article will first trace the historical synopsis of the negative portrayal of Africa in the media, followed by an assessment of the current situation and the existing gaps, before finally looking at the stake of African media practitioners in intervening in the situation through fairness in reporting. The basis of this article is secondary literature and an empirical study conducted in Kenya in 2010.

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