The Weakness in Our Reportage: Flaws of the African Media.
Let me start by saying that, the media of any country plays a huge role in the development and growth of that country, this is because the way humans are wired we pay attention to what we see and what we hear repeatedly. That’s just who we are. Hence, the media becomes a key player in how rich a country can be and how poor, it can make or mar the reputation of a people. We all saw the wonders the social media did to President Buhari’s image before and during the last elections. Thus, without gainsaying the media is king in its lane. However, we have seen the media misled people, we have seen the media been hijacked by the government of a nation, we have seen journalists and media personnel demonized and hunted for publishing the truth. By implication, the media doesn’t just report the news and happenings, it also carries and proclaims the aspiration of a people, their hope, their history, the stories of where they are coming from and where they are going.
Having said this, I must say the media in Africa, is losing its core unconsciously. The reportage of African happenings is now too poor, we sometimes need the western media to help us amplify our stories before we even get to hear them, which is bad. Whether the happenings are good or bad, the weakness of its reportage is the same, it is true that the west rules the media ( if not everything ‘good’ in this life) but statistics has also shown Africans are one of the highest users of social media platforms, yet our news still sell less and our cry less heard, this is because the media outlets have chosen to report the west more than we report ourselves, African has lost more people to natural and human disasters this year than any other continent yet you hardly see our ills trend on social media, this is not a call for more pity, but a call that can open African up for more relief and aid, not necessarily from the west but Africans in diaspora and also awaken the government of African countries to its responsibilities, as they appear underplayed and underemphasized.
When the hurricanes hit North America, Nigerians (the highest number of African internet users) where quick to start and join the hashtag #PrayForTexas meanwhile thousands where rendered homeless in Markudi, with no one to “pray for them”. I am not saying there is a problem with praying for other countries when they suffer loses, of course not (we were humans first before we became Africans or Nigerians), what I am saying is African events deserve more attention in the media like those from other continents too. All of this to me shows how much value we place on our lives as Africans, killings happened in Port Harcourt and Plateau recently and the media is dry. This is not to say these stories don’t get reported, they do, but the purpose of the media is not just to report events but to sustain them, to raise and keep the populace abreast this information is their work and responsibility.
On the 14th day of October 2017, a massive blast caused by a truck bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia killed at least 350 people and injured nearly 400. The Somali president Mohamed declared three days of mourning. As sadden as this news is, it never got a trend on any of the social media platform and only got reported for just a day on the local television stations, the BBC and CNN did better jobs. There is a need to not just report the event but also follow it up, that is the essence of information. Nigeria is currently dealing with the whereabout of Nnamdi Kalu, the leader of the proscribed IPOB. Apart from the failure of military agencies, I also see this as a flaw of our media and their work ethics. One would think that such a man would have been under a close Rader of the press, such that his every move can be reported, this doesn’t just protect him it also protects the government of the day.
In conclusion, the media in Africa must step up. There are way too many stories about African that the world is yet to know. If we really want to have a media, that would be reckoned with, our reportage and style of journalism must take a different shape. Africans deserve to know more about Africa, there a lot of Africans doing exploit within and outside Africa, their stories should be told. The world must rethink Africa. If the children of the late Fela, didn’t idolize their father, this legend would have been forgotten like many others. We need to sell Africa to the world, it would help every aspect of our existence.
Do have fabulous weekend!