EDITORIAL: An ignorant tweet from Biarritz is a wakeup call to African media

An American White House correspondent for the Associated Press has ruffled quite a few feathers of those who felt they had been insulted.

During the just ended G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the journalist captioned a photo with the words: “World leader bear hug before the group photo @ #G7Summit in Biarritz, France. @EmmanuelMacron, @narendramodi, @JustinTrudeau and one unidentified leader.”

The unidentified leader was no other than South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The internet immediately caught fire, many angry that the journalist had treated Ramaphosa with disdain and had not even bothered to find out the identity of the “black” president.

Incidentally, from the photo on the journalist’s Twitter handle, she is a person of colour so the issue of “racism” should not even arise. The onslaught of missiles the lady received should be a lesson enough for she had publicly displayed her ignorance and dragged her face in the mud.

The incident was yet another indication that for the so-called mainstream media, anything African is not worth research, it is enough to simply scratch the surface, unless of course, they are busy killing each other.

It will be interesting to see whether the Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) that opens tomorrow in Yokohama, Japan, will get even half the coverage that the G7, a group of seven countries and a few invited guests, got.

We have always been over repeating “Africans telling Africa’s story”, but that has just remained empty words. Maybe this is the right time to defy the big western media houses by flooding our media with what is happening in Yokohama where nearly the whole continent will be represented.

Then, maybe then, will we be telling our story and not waiting for some ignorant disconnected journalist to distort it.

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