Let us first fix our own media
I am sure some people here have had the chance to watch a Ugandan TV station, Bukedde, seeing as it is now on DSTV. I am also going to assume that people’s wallets are heavy enough to subscribe for a full package because I’m not sure you can see it any other way.
This station airs a late night news show, Agataliiko Nfufu. The title literally means, with no dust. If you have watched this news show before then you will know that it is ‘thee’ most ridiculous thing to ever be aired on television.
Only in gossip obsessed societies can news headlines be about a boy caught night dancing in the neighbour’s house or a girl and her mother fighting over the same man or a man being forced to eat raw mutton because he dared to steal a sheep!
On NTV, which I consider to be Uganda’s top TV station, in their news was the story of a woman who felt it ‘motherly’ to breastfeed a kid – what is wrong with that, you will ask - by kid I don’t mean a human child; it was the young of a goat. The little bugger tagged at her breast so viciously, I worried it would be chewed off but the woman seemed undaunted and used that same breast to feed her child.
Now, let me ask this very important question - how can other people represent us well if we can’t even represent ourselves? If that is the kind of news our journalists are out to find then we are doomed! Is it any wonder why people do not take us seriously?
Some people believe everyone in Africa has Aids or Ebola - that is the picture the West has painted. However, I have noticed that some people these days fear pregnancy more than they do Aids! So you see, saying we all have Aids is not too farfetched really!
From what I have noticed, Rwandans have a seriously poor reading culture. Apparently, newspapers can sit in offices all day without even the first page turned! Now, if some ‘muzungu’ journalist were to come around and find out that people here actually do not like to read, why then would we curse when he informs the rest of the world about our ‘inability’ to read?
We need to represent ourselves well if we want others to characterize us that way too. I know sometimes foreign media can exaggerate things or they simply never have their facts right but there are cases where there is some truth to it, no matter how small. If we work on improving the way the world sees us then any misrepresentation cannot be our fault.
If you leave your house dirty, knowing well you have visitors coming over, try not to get shocked when those visitors go spreading the word about your ‘pigsty’ environment. I respect TV Rwanda only because they don’t seem to have a liking for idiocy. The programmes they air might not be of top entertainment quality, but at least they are civil!