Africa is skewed by Western media

Victor Massaquoi and Victor Massaquoi

Since the colonization and partition of Africa by the French, British, Portuguese, Spanish, Italians and others decades ago, Africa is rarely portrayed in a positive light in Western media.

Pick up the New York Times, the Guardian in England or Le Monde in France and the reporting, interpretation and ethos are almost the same.

Despite the gradual improvements on the relics of our colonizers, Africa is still being branded by Western media as politically and economically backward, engulfed in never-ending civil strife, fraught with underdeveloped health system and constantly violating human rights. In the eyes of Western media organizations, Africa is just a place for exotic animals, seafood products and natural locations for movie shoots.

The media have clouded the minds of most Westerners with negative perceptions, even though perception does not always reflect reality.

But geographically, Africa is the second largest continent after Asia, with over 50 countries, and five regions; a continent that is endowed with natural resources, including gold, diamonds, oil, rich cultures and diverse traditions.

It’s a place with a plethora of social belief and religious systems. Like other continents, Africa has its problems, but has many success stories.

Politically, we have made democratic progress in countries in Southern Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and other places despite political conflicts in places like Sudan and Ivory Coast.

The critics of Africa in Western media – many of whom know little about the continent – have offered very little, if any, political solutions to solve some of the political problems in Africa.

Economically, almost 95 percent of business news is either about Southeast Asia, Europe or America; In a new documentary, “Africa is Ready for Business,” a British film-maker portrayed successful businesses in about 10 countries in Africa [such as South Africa and Nigeria] as proven examples that Africa can compete with the rest of the world if given the opportunity.

Indeed, Africa is ready for foreign investment but only if Western media desist from denigrating Africa economic prospect, and start promoting international investment in telecommunication, manufacturing, food production, airline and new technologies.

Socially, anything that is negative is from Africa. Today, even in the shadow of poverty, Africa continues to improve although at a snail pace and with limited resources.

The health and educational systems are improving greatly. Family values, once threatened by a wave of Western lifestyles, are being reinstated. Women are gradually participating in almost all aspect of society.

Africa is not hopeless.

I blame the West partly for these problems. Most of the armed conflicts in Africa are fueled by illegal sale of arms by Western and Eastern contractors. The International Monetary Fund and others are squeezing Africa dry by way of providing loans with stiff conditions.

African leaders in turn swindle the loan money to private accounts logged in Western countries.

Is this fair?

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