When the first African television network was launched on October 31, 1959, it was with the hope that in few decades of its establishment, it would have been a grand edifice upon which a strong and true projection of the African news is portrayed.
Africans have been forced to rely on news from the western media to understand their own experiences and stories. In the real sense, the western media would continue to get the wrong picture of what’s really happening in Africa, hence, the wrong coverage and reportage of the African story to the audience. The audience, without the exclusion of Africans, is being forced to swallow the report hook line and sinker as they’re made to believe that it’s the most credible news they can find.
The narration made possible had the whole world feeding on wrong information about Africa. Thus, painting the continent as a war ravaging society, poverty-stricken area and archaic environment. The western media are projecting on Africans their expectations of us, to predominantly exist as the universal picture of what Africa is. This mirrored as the major reason for the usual reflection of the western thoughts on Africa especially when it is coming from a western media network publication. Also, there’s this lack of connection with the real happenings in Africa and what they think is going on here.
There are arguments that the western media are incorporating African reporters into their organizations to report the African stories. However, the argument is flawed ab initio, as organizations of this nature are known with established values and goals which influences and in possible ways, undermines its African reporters. As popularly quoted, “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”. The only way to tell the African story correctly is for the creation of an independent broadcasting network for Africa which would inculcate the common historical experiences and cultural heritage of Africans.
Just like Al Jazeera has succeeded in giving Arabs a voice on the global stage, there’s a need for an African answer to Al Jazeera on the global stage. This takes us to the report by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) first reported the probe on Nigerian banker on the 29th of May, 2020 which goes thus, “Akinwumi Adesina: Why the US is targeting a flamboyant Nigerian banker”. Though the headline didn’t go without attacks from Nigerians, that didn’t stop BBC from making a twitter post on the 29th of August, 2020 to announce the reelection of Akinwumi Adesina as President of Africa Development Bank,
While calling for a broadcasting network for Africa, arguments would definitely suffice on what language should be deemed primary out of the variety of languages in Africa. Yes, this is the seed of disunity they’ve always sowed in our hearts to think that we can’t make anything work because of the diverse languages we speak.
However, with the recent activities of British Broadcasting Corporation in diversifying into local languages in Africa, there are existing provisions to cater for the coverage on languages such as BBC Hausa, BBC Yoruba. If BBC could have invested in the local languages, there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel for a broadcasting network services for Africa which would inculcate in itself local languages in telling the African story and experience
Storytelling is an important feature of the African culture, when our stories are being told by third parties; it loses its “Africanity” as the story of Africa is best told from within.
In a nutshell, the African proverb which goes thus; “Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter” would be a mere saying if there’s really no establishment of a broadcasting network of Africa that tells the African story.
Abass Oyeyemi is the Public Relations Officer of Menaget SPC and can be reached via [email protected]
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