Why can’t African media have its own voice?

Editor, July and August 2010  had a series of events, mostly unrelated but with a bearing and perhaps a lesson or two for us Africans who have vehemently refused to think independently, but rather only to parrot and ‘regurgitate’ what  the west thinks is right, thus mortgaging our destiny to foreign interests. 

Editor,
 
July and August 2010  had a series of events, mostly unrelated but with a bearing and perhaps a lesson or two for us Africans who have vehemently refused to think independently, but rather only to parrot and ‘regurgitate’ what  the west thinks is right, thus mortgaging our destiny to foreign interests. 

One notable event was the Rwandan presidential election campaign, which I witnessed at close range. Till the eve of the election, the only word from the foreign media, parroted wholesome by our own African media was “ ....no credible opposition’.

No democracy’...’’freedom of expression’...and similar blurbs.  I ask, “credible opposition” as defined by who and for who?  “Democracy” as defined by whom and for who? 

Please, I don’t not suffer bullying and arrogant stereotyping about who should define for us what we need. This was Candidate Kagame’s trade-mark slogan: “The Rwandan people know what they want”. Period. Full stop.

Half-way through the election campaign in Rwanda, CNN broadcast live Angela Merkel’s arrival and visit to China, the fifth since she took charge of Europe’s largest economy. What exactly pulls her, and all entire western powers, to China? 

Close on its heels in the same week CNN and RTL featured an interesting story. In the centre of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, 700 residents share three ‘ecological toilets’ (read ‘pit latrines). These residents are called Romas’.

France is currently deporting them as illegal immigrants back to Romania yet none of this forms headlines or talk-show topics for our own media houses who, even before Kagame is sworn in, are already debating whether he will  go for a third term.  The Kenyan constitutional referendum passed ‘unnoticed’ because there were no bodies and burning houses on our computer and television screens.

I am yet to find an answer to an irritating question posed by my friend as we discussed this, while savoring a tasty grilled rabbit in an exquisite hotel in southern Rwanda, “what is it about Africans that makes us so wont to self-flagellation”?
 
Amon B Mbekiza
Kampala, Uganda

kagap@yahoo.com.au

 

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