EDITORIAL: African media need to shake off shackles of underdog

Rwanda marks the Africa Information Day today.

On every given occasion, African media managers always talk of the importance of telling our own story and not relying wholly on foreign media that have their own agenda. And as usual during those gatherings, it is all talk and little action. No one even comes up with a semblance of a footprint of how to circumvent established mainstream media to give out our story.

But as the saying goes; charity begins at home. Before talking about a united and cohesive African media, what will Rwanda take on the table? It is true that Rwandan media has come a long way, taking painful baby steps as it tries to stand on its own two feet.

But we should also be honest with ourselves; we are not yet there, at least the way we would wish to. There are still many areas to patch up and there are other areas we have made tremendous progress such as skills development.

But as long as we have not managed to build the financial clout and independence, that Achilles heel will continue to be exposed to manipulators and encourage the mercenary-type of reporting.

Many will remember that a few years ago, some so-called independent media could not survive without handouts from their foreign backers. It was an open secret and a sure way to land a ticket for some greener pastures in case they landed on the wrong side of the law.

That danger is still very present if the media continues to struggle to survive. That should be our conversation as we celebrate Africa Information Day: How can we make our media more sustainable and less vulnerable?

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