Fair and balanced journalism is critical

Editor, I agree with Sunny Ntayombya. The contrasting manner of media coverage of Western and poorer countries, especially in Africa, shows a deep-seated hierarchisation of human value. Western lives are considered more valuable than our own. I don’t have as much problem with such an attitude if it was held by Westerners; after all we all tend to be self-centered.
Participants in the Boston Marathon, it turned bloody after two bombs struck near the finish line. Net photo.
Participants in the Boston Marathon, it turned bloody after two bombs struck near the finish line. Net photo.

Editor,

I agree with Sunny Ntayombya. The contrasting manner of media coverage of Western and poorer countries, especially in Africa, shows a deep-seated hierarchisation of human value. Western lives are considered more valuable than our own. I don’t have as much problem with such an attitude if it was held by Westerners; after all we all tend to be self-centered.

But that Africans can shed more tears for Western victims than those from their neighborhood shows a serious flaw in the way we are educated. Perhaps it is all that Western literature – Tarzan or Tintin come to mind – where white is always hero and black invariably villain and stupid to boot.

We, are, thus inculcated from our very young age to passionately identify with whites while despising our own kind. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, said Bob Marley. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is in the mind of the oppressed, added Steve Biko.

To undo the damage we must start from preschool. We must also teach the old to value themselves and their own before the distant foreign. Appreciate and support Kiyovu or Mukura before Chelsea, Arsenal or Man U, for instance. The unthinking love of what belongs to others while you ignore your own is a symptom of a psychological malady.

As for the AP dispatch about Ntaganda at the ICC, and alleged Rwandans fear he might spill the beans at his trial – that was no lazy journalism at all. Just a Kenneth Roth communiqué they only forgot to brand as such.

Media news-gathering, copy editing and other critical functions of the news business have had to be cut to the bone, like all businesses in other sectors, in the age of austerity. They will, therefore, take any material to fill copy from wherever they can get it if they don’t have to pay for it and can be reasonably sure there will be no downside from agreeing to work as someone else’s shill.

It helps that HRW can also count on Daddy Moneybags Soros’ hundreds of millions to buy access to publishers and managing editors and extend some perks to poor copy editors.

Mwene Kalinda
, Kigali,Rwanda

Reaction to Sunny Ntayombya’s opinion, “The Boston bombings are revealing a lot of hypocrisy”, (The New Times, April 17)

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