BBC and CNN are not to blame

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Africa is a land endowed by so many beautiful sceneries. It is home to the big five animals, the beautiful savannah, the expansive Sahara desert, beautiful coastal beaches and an all so lovely climate which is an envy for many around the world.

Besides all the beauty also lies a very hostile terrain. By hostile I mean the many wars plaguing the continent, the drought and famine ravaging the people and the greed and impunity by which some of political elite rule. I am a firm believer in the saying that ‘a true friend does not tell you what you want to hear but instead a true friend tells you what you need to hear’. Therefore I strongly disagree with my fellow codewit author whom repeatedly suggests that the CNN and BBC are to blame.

It is no secret that Africa has had its fair share of wars from Somali, Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo, to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur region of Sudan. The list is almost endless and new wars seem to be cropping up with every passing day. The dictatorship in Zimbabwe is currently a very sore spot in Africa. BBC and CNN have been at the forefront of exposing heinous and disastrous leaderships all over the continent of Africa. BBC and CNN not only exposes such heinous leadership in Africa but the same applies to the rest of the world. Such a case in point would be the Russian Georgian crisis and exposing corruption scandal in Europe. But as a result of Africans many problems the spotlight seems to be shone on our continent. And in doing BBC and CNN both seem to be bias but if we are to be really honest with ourselves we do have the lions shares of the world problem and as a result the spotlight is rightly shone on the continent.

I do give BBC and CNN credit because as a result of their constant news coverage of the plight in Africa, we have managed to get the rest of the world’s attention. If BBC and CNN were not to cover Africa some of the continents catastrophes and dictatorships would easily go unnoticed. It is very evident that some countries do not know the meaning of freedom of press because of oppressive regimes. Therefore if we are to rely on the Zimbabwe press for coverage of the news in Zimbabwe all we will end up with is state manufactured propaganda while the reality on the ground is dire. And this applies to many other African countries. We cannot be trusted to be the judge and jury in our own courts, we sure do need an objective third party to arbitrate and give another perspective. A perspective we could either be too embarrassed to reveal ourselves or we could not want the rest of the world to know. This is where BBC and CNN come in and due to their tireless coverage Africa has gotten attention from the world leaders, and the world’s citizens who tune in to BBC and CNN. The world leaders and the world’s citizens have been able to help both financially and with humanitarian efforts.

We could chastise BBC and CNN till hell freezes over but the fact is the negative coverage of Africa will not change. The sooner we realize this, the better off we are. We should try and come up with alternative means through which we could expose the positive aspects of Africa e.g. the codewit website is a good starting point. But we could go a couple of steps further. Middle-east countries realized this and as a result came up with al- jazeera news agency. So while BBC and CNN are busy exposing the negative aspects of the middle-east, al jazeera is busy giving the world the positive aspects of the middle-east. And with time al-jazeera has grown rapidly and is now the main source of middle-eastern for the world and the middle-eastern citizens. We should not wait for our neighbour to come and lawn our front yard for us we should do it ourselves. So if we honestly think BBC and CNN are doing us a di-service we should go ahead and do the service to ourselves. We should not wait for BBC and CNN to change the coverage of Africa and begin covering the positive aspects of Africa. We as Africans should also have our own mouth piece to trumpet our positive aspects because as we all know no one can do a better job of marketing you than your own self. Blaming BBC and CNN just makes us look like helpless and sore losers.

Africa as a continent should all take responsibility and begin to have some really good news for BBC and CNN to report on. If most of what we as a continent continue to produce is wars, conflicts, corruption and greed then that is what the rest world will gladly portray us to be. As Obama says ‘if you opponent has nothing good to run on, then they spend most of the time try to making people run away from you’ so if we have nothing really good for BBC and CNN to cover we end up saying BBC and CNN are the bad guys. We should instead advocate for Afro-News which is news tailor made by Africa for Africa. Such an idea was in the pipeline but I do not know how far the idea has gone. But I am afraid like most of Africa’s great ideas it has been mired in corruption and lack of support. So next time before you blame BBC and CNN please try and remember all the breaking news that BBC and CNN have been able to cover and as a result the news has saved a life in Africa or resulted in an extra dollar donation to Africa.

Let us not be help hostage to the old human bondage that is quick to find mistakes in others while totally ignoring their positive aspects.   
Barack ‘Hussien’ Onduto
Codewit author, and supporter.

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