In DepthLettersLetters - Media Wars: Media dynamism on the up in Africa


Posted on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 18:50

Letters - Media Wars: Media dynamism on the up in Africa

Mohamed Keita, Africa Advocacy Coordinator at the US-based Committee to Project Journalists, responds to Gemma Ware's article on Media Wars (TAR45 Nov 2012).


The Africa Report's Media Wars is a compelling analysis of news media business in Africa, and a comprehensive effort to capture the opportunities and challenges that journalists from Senegal to Ethiopia and from Cameroon to Mozambique have shared with me over the last 6 years.

It is no coincidence that the piece zooms in on Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. They are open marketplaces where the competition of ideas drives innovation and fuels private sector investment, and where vigorous public debate provides to the public a measure of accountability for political leadership.

May the public gain a better appreciation of the resilience of ordinary reporters, whose commitment to their profession and principle is tested by physical intimidation, risk of imprisonment and death, and economic pressures.

Sometimes, legitimate grievances about Africa's negative portrayal in the media are channeled to support the idea that headlines about public corruption or criticism of leadership are an attack on a public official's dignity or undermine tourism and foreign investment.

There is room for more African news outlets to grow into sustainable media companies, for better accuracy and more in-depth reporting on women's issues, and the conditions of rural communities and for more independence from powerful interests in government or business.

The examples given show that the press can attain such goals, given room to grow in a democratic space, competitive private sector investment and broad support from the public.

Mohamed Keita, Africa Advocacy Coordinator, Committee to Project Journalists, United States

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