News / Africa

Mainstream US Media Criticized for Ignoring Positive Developments in Africa

Africa Society president Bernadette Paolo says many Africa-related events continue to feature less prominently in mainstream US media

President Obama and the African Youth Forum
President Obama and the African Youth Forum

Multimedia

Audio
  • Africa Society President and CEO Bernadette Paolo spoke to Butty

James Butty

The president and CEO of the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa says that important stories about Africa continue to feature less prominently in mainstream American media outlets.

The Africa Society is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that strives to educate Americans about the richness and diversity of Africa, as well as the economic opportunities that the continent offers.

Bernadette Paolo said, despite the fact that the month of August featured many Africa-related events in Washington, those events did not make the mainstream American media.

She said there is a need to demand positive coverage of Africa by providing the media with information that contrasts with the usual negative stories.

“When you ask students throughout the United States, the first four images that come to mind when they hear the word “Africa” is war, disease, starving children and animals. And, I think that the reporting in the media is primarily negative,” she said.

Paolo said, although there are challenges facing African countries, Americans need to know the contributions the continent is making and the potential it holds.

“When you think about it, many of the mineral resources in the entire world are from the continent of Africa, never mind the fact that the African diaspora in the United States is the highest educated among all immigrant populations. These are facts that never come to the fore through the media,” Paolo said.

She said changes in U.S. foreign policy toward Africa over the years suggest that Africa is getting the attention it warrants from the U.S. government.

But, Paolo said much more needs to be done to improve the negative coverage of the continent in the mainstream U.S. media.

“I think that, with journalists, you have to feed them with information and make them aware of these changes, of the economic development, of a country such as Botswana and others that are making great strides economically, of the number of democracies that are on the continent now, as opposed to 20 years ago,” Paolo said.

Paolo said the responsibility of disseminating positive information about Africa is not solely that of the media, but also the duty of all Africanists through the use of modern technology.

“I think it’s a combined effort of getting more information out there using social media, people who are Africanists, people from the African diaspora, putting things in newspapers, writing letters to the editors. So, the responsibility isn’t solely journalists. It’s all of ours,” she said.

Paolo said she lamented the fact that millions of Americans did not get the chance to meet and see the young people from Africa who attended President Obama’s Forum with African Youth Leaders.

“We had heads of state. We had foreign ministers. In Africa, in August, we had the AGOA Forum. We had these youth leaders that President Obama had here, 115 extraordinary young people with contributions already in their lives that were just mind-boggling. All these things are missed opportunities to have a different picture of African leaders. And so, I think, we seldom have reporting on positive developments such as these,” Paolo said.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid