“Africans know little about their continent through national media,” African Media Initiative

“Africans know little about their continent through national media,” African Media Initiative

Nairobi, July 16, 2018– The African Media Initiative (AMI) has just released a report suggesting that there is very little cross-border reporting by African media, resulting in limited knowledge of the continent by Africans. The “Reporting Africa” study points out that most of the news about Africa comes from sources external to the continent and that these ultimately determine what has been referred to as “the Africa narrative”.

The report underscores the fact that global media organizations constitute a powerful vehicle for not only shaping the global agenda but also for framing the lens through which Africa is perceived by Africans and the world.

The research sought to figure out what currently prevails and if there are any compelling dialogues that are reported and can collectively define the Africa story. It was informed by empirical data gleaned from published reports from across the region and responses provided by editors to a range of questions from AMI.

“We wanted to figure out how Africa is covered by media on the continent and the factors that determine such coverage,” said AMI Chief Executive Officer Roukaya Kasenally in a pre-launch statement. “We were concerned,” she pointed out, “with questions about how media in Africa contribute to the creation of a common understanding of the continent’s realities beyond narratives based on preconceived ideas and stereotypes.”

The study sought to deepen overall understanding of the elements that drive media coverage within and beyond national borders, informs editorial choices, and shapes local and regional perceptions of the continent.

It brought out the fact that low investments in media and limited professional capacity in many countries had resulted in persistent dependence on foreign news sources, giving rise to a limited focus in African newspapers on stories that enrich the African agenda and emphasize shared experiences.

It emerged from the study that media leaders believe that readers and audiences prefer interesting stories which, in the African context, means, in the words of one of the respondents, “intriguing tales of failure and defeat against the forces of nature”.

“If we are going to reimagine Africa’s image and change the narrative,” concluded the reports co-author, Eric Chinje, “we would have to figure out innovative ways of significantly increasing investments in media and use technology to source content from counterpart media across borders in Africa. There must be a genuine home-grown effort to define and shape the narrative in ways that reflect the diversity of voices and images of a continent on the move.”

Wondering if current coverage of Africa is informed by 21st century realities or pre-conceived ideas from another era, co-author Wangethi Mwangi emphasized the need for more credible and contextualized reporting by both regional and global news correspondents. He noted that “continued reliance on foreign news agencies will ensure that the persistence of poor leadership in a handful of countries will continue to provide a rich pool from which to source negative reports that define the entire continent”.

African media is primarily national in outlook and focus, with rarely more than a page or two in national dailies devoted to news about other countries in the region.

An important gathering of heads of state and government took place during the period under study. None of the issues on the agenda of the meeting received continent-wide coverage or in any significant group of countries. Indeed, the media was not a reliable source of information or knowledge about the African Union – the pan-African institution that hosted the event.

The emerging role of Social Media 
Social media is also responsible for redefining the role and scope of media in society. Bloggers have become a new class of media celebrities. Africans are believed to be among the world’s leading users of Facebook and WhatsApp. With the ability to produce and disseminate content, albeit to a restricted audience, social media is filling gaps in the news business left by a capacity-deficient and resource-burdened legacy media. The downside to a rising dependence on social media for news in Africa is quite considerable and is giving rise to the growing chorus of complaints about “fake” news. There is also the recognition, at a time when the search is on for continent-wide dialogues and a new narrative that will redefine Africa, of the fact that fragmentation is within the DNA of social media.

The study used a mixed method approach, with a focus on content analyses and a survey questionnaire among editors across Africa. An expert meeting on ‘Reporting Africa’ provided additional input and analysis.

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“Reporting Africa” report Editing Team: Roukaya Kasenally, Eric Chinje, Wangethi Mwangi and George Nyabuga, June 2018

AMI is a pan-African organization that seeks to strengthen the continent’s private and independent media sector from an owner and operator perspective to promote democratic governance, social development and economic growth.


Last modified on Tuesday, 07/08/2018


Friday, August 21st 2019 marks a year of the passing of Hadja Hawa Khadar Daramy, wife of Late Honourable Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy (First Financial Secretary of Sierra Leone) and Member of Parliament of Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).  Hadja Hawa was born 1st December 1922 to Sowoi Mariama Fortune and Alhaji Ali Khadar.
Hadja Hawa Khadar Daramy hails from Mongeray, Kpaka, Pujehun where her mother was born.  Oh! how she just loved Mongeray.   Her father was born in Helba, North Lebanon.
Hadja Hawa Khadar Daramy passed away at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday 21st August


With gratitude to God for a life well lived

Obituary for the late Evelyn Lauretta Idowu-Davies
Sunrise:11 February 1925
Sunset : 10 March 2019
Aged 94
Funeral & Communion service : Friday 22 March at the Ebenezer Methodist Church Murray Town at 2:30
From the Children and grandchildren at home and abroad.

17th March 2019, marks the 20th Anniversary of the passing away of HONORABLE, DR. SHEIKH BATU DARAMY SR, aka, SB Daramy.  Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy, Sr. B.Sc (Economics from London School of Economics, UK), M.A., Ph.D from Howard University, was born on 20th September, 1920 in Makeni.  Today we remember one of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) oldest members.  In 1948, Hon. Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy was awarded a Sierra Leone Government scholarship to attend the London School of Economics from where he graduated in 1952 with a B.Sc in Economics. ...

The death is announced of Mr. Fuad Din Gabisi age 84 years whose sad event took place today Monday 12th November, 2018. He is survived by his wife Balkisu Din Gabisi of 3 Ingham Street Fourah Bay Community, Freetown. Sisters: Haja Bola Deen (Late) and Ola Din-Gabisi (UK)
Children: Mrs. Christiana Bultman-Sulaiman of the USA
Mr. Sulay Din Gabisi of USA
Miss Zainab Din Gabisi of Freetown
Mr. Aziz Din Gabisi of Freetown
Mr. Dyfu Din Gabisi of USA
Miss Blanche Bultman of USA
Mr. Fuad Din Gabisi ...


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