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

Photogallery Pope Condemns IS 'Persecution' of Minorities

Pope delivers annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing, appeals for end to conflicts in Africa, dialogue in Middle East, condemns Taliban attack in Pakistan More

China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death

Earlier this year China announced plans to remove nine crimes from the list of capital offenses, including counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising and forcing others into prostitution More

Analysis: For N. Koreans, Parody Has Grave Tone

Most North Koreans who might see 'The Interview' would be horribly offended, outraged, and confused 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.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid