Published on Pambazuka News, by Sokari Ekine, June 2, 2011.
Uganda’s Walk2Work campaign, growing public consciousness in Kenya, Swaziland’s pro-democracy demonstrations, public sector protests in Botswana and the still invisible LGBTIQ movement feature in this week’s reflection on struggles for social justice across the continent, by Sokari Ekine.
Recently the Dar es Salaam Citizen published an OpEd piece, “News is not coming out of Africa” in which it criticised African media for the focus on reporting ‘events’ and failure to follow through with informative opinion and commentary. Instead African media continues to rely on western media for in-depth analysis of African affairs.
Events such as the Nigerian elections, the political crisis and conflict in Cote d’Ivoire, uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and the International Criminal Court hearings on Kenya’s 2008 post election violence were reported only as ‘news events’:
‘I could cite other examples to make the point that our media has such an event focus that it fails to follow developments in ways that would make Africans knowledgeable and interested about Africa as Africans. In this it fails its core mission of educating Africans about their own contexts and situations. A major reason for this apparent amnesia and what comes across as disjointed coverage is the fact that most South African media do not have sustained coverage of the continent of their own. For a start, South African media houses have no regional bureaus of their own with journalists conversant in languages other than English.
‘When the international media cease or reduce coverage there is an automatic effect on our own media even if we might still be interested in the issue. In this regard it could be said that our media are an appendage of Western media.’
The article highlights the importance of Pambazuka News in providing exactly what the rest of Africa’s media is either ill-equipped or just too lazy to do. The purpose of the ‘uprising’ reports is not just to inform readers of events as they happen but also to give a sense of the continuing struggle and a broader view of the continent-wide discontent with the status quo regards democracy, the lack of adherence to all areas of human rights and the primacy of western governments and corporate interests over that of African people.
UGANDA: LET’S SHOOT THE PEOPLE! … (full long text writing about Uganda, Kenya, Swaziland, Botswana, Ethiopia).