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Africa is not a Country Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Chris Ezeh, Germany Dec 24, 2004
Citizen Journalism   Opinions


Most people never get bothered when news-agenda setters suddenly turn a continent into a country or when Gambia or Kenya suddenly assumes the same weight in meaning as the continental Africa. But many Africans do. The issues of the continued media misrepresentation of Africa and media bias against the Continental Africa are omnipresent in most western media reports on Africa and constitute great headache and cankerworm to every African living in the Diaspora.

Fairness in news reporting calls not only for our concern with the utmost precise presentation of the bare news and facts but equally, the geo-political environment must stand in fair, accurate profile to the reported event.
Media professionals know that it is not just enough to report for instance on TV that, “President John Agyekum Kofoh of Ghana is on a five-day official visit to Holland” without adequate emphasis given to the correct pronunciation of the names or the geo-political importance of Ghana to Holland or Her status in Africa. We all know the might of the media and how this might has shaped and adversely influenced the image of Africa world-wide.

An example of such news reports that send shock-waves to Africans is discrediting front-page news in Der Spiegel a (German Weekly) reportage few years ago, with the obnoxious caption: Elends Kontinent Afrika Rettung durch die Weißen? (Misery Continent Africa, Should the Whites come to rescue?) I felt really sad reading it. I asked myself again and again how is this possible?

In this case, it was just a report on the former situation in Somalia and suddenly someone thought Somalia has automatically assumed the position of a Continent. Many Africans feel very sad seeing the daily media portrayal of the continental Africa as a country. When civil war breaks out in Liberia: The whole Africa is at war! If religious fanatics take control of Kano/Kaduna in Nigeria, the next day’s news caption will run: "AFRICA IN CRISES AGAIN!" A man from one African country runs amok in Reperbahn Hamburg; the caption runs: "Afrikaner Amok gelaufen" ("An African runs amok"). The only news from Africa that is newsworthy must be embezzlement of funds, Ebola virus, AIDS, cataclysm, hunger and starvation.

Why should news and images of Africa in the mass media always be images of suffering and catastrophe? Why must every African media-picture be images of misery? Why must African news always be treated holistically?

In African countries news managers do not just caption stories: "Europe a Continent under fire" because there is a crisis in Bosnia or as a result of trouble fomented by the IRA in Ireland or chaos in Spain from the ETA groups. In view of all odds it has gone through including the Black Holocaust. I think it is time we start researching for the other faces of Africa that has always been left undiscovered. I think it is time we honor Africa and give Africa and her Children the place they deserve, rather than this deluge of woes.



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Chris Ezeh

Chris Ezeh is a Journalist, Web Developer, Medical professional, the founder of The EuroAfricaCentral & the publisher of The EuroAfricaCentral.com Magazine Online: www.euroafricacentral.com

Brique Zeiner | Feb 19th, 2005
On some points I do agree with you Chris. The fact of the matter is that most African countries are in the need of a lot of help. It doesn't matter if that help is coming from Mzungus (whites) or anyone else. There is so much poverty and destatution there that to ignore it would be on the boarder to murder as far as I'm concerned. It is everyone's duty to do what they can for those who cannot help themselves alone - and I don't mean doing everything - I mean helping others to help themselves. At least that's what I'm trying to do in Nakuru, Kenya. As far as people seeing Africa as a country - well of course it isn't and if people don't know that then they need a Geography lesson - but....... when you, for example read a headline in the newspaper "American Runs Amock in Supermarket" do you think of someone from Peru or do you think of someone from California or do you just think of a US American? Same thing as in Africa I'd say! There are innumberable beauties and wisdoms in all of Africa. People tend to look at the bad or sad facts before the see the beauty in anything or anyone. So I agree with you that it's important to start seeing the beautiful Africa with bigger and more open eyes.

Africa is not a Country
Chris Ezeh | Apr 16th, 2005
Thanks Brique for commenting on my article. The crux of my article is only to tell the world that in talking about issues on Africa, it is very important to be specific and names of the particular countries concerned should be mentioned instead of a misleading generalisation. Through this ignorant generalisations Africans are being insulted and painted with over exargerations are things really are. For more detailed report on this article with pictures please visit my website www.euroafricacentral.com or direct to the article on this URL: http://www.euroafricacentral.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=&phpshop=dbf338487104f3491059f55160f6563e Best wishes, Chris Ezeh

Rply to Brique Zeiner
Chris Ezeh | Jan 13th, 2008
Thanks for the comment: The Issues you raised are very important but, the crux of the matter is that western journalists should start emphasing both negative and positive africa. Reporting only the negative is not only morally incorrect but equally misleading, untrue and unjust!!

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