It’s always been clear that we are not in control of much, in these countries on the continent of Africa, but I stopped to think today about how odd it was that all the coverage on Ebola that people in Uganda quote and tweet about is from the Guardian, the Washington Post, CNN and so on and so forth.
How come these journalists are so brave that they are the ones who go into war zones and have now deployed right into the infectious jaws of death by virus contamination? And if they can do so, why are our own journalists missing? A journalist is a journalist, by any other race/colour/nationality, right? We are committed to the truth, objectivity, the people, our profession…right?
Well, I focussed on Liberia and discovered that they DO have local media there; so somebody should start quoting them a little bit so we are sure that we’re hearing the truth from there.
Of course, what with our obsession with the ‘developed world’ we have no clue what the Liberian media houses on offer might be, but there’s a list of journalists up on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Liberian_journalists and newspapers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Newspapers_published_in_Liberia as well.
One of them even has a specific tab on Ebola: http://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/ebola-central but does not compare well to our own news websites in Uganda.
The others are also not easy to find, but certainly exist – such as The Daily Talk – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Talk and The News (search for the link yourself).
Journalists, especially those on this continent who might not be able to deploy people to physically go to Liberia and wherever else, make those phonecalls to your colleagues, establish email contact and get us the REAL stories. Show us their REAL countries so we can appreciate what they are REALLY like from our perspective.
Tell us how different or similar we are through OUR eyes, please?
And readers in general, open YOUR eyes and LOOK FOR information rather than just consume what gets sent your way; and for everybody’s sake, analyse it carefully at all times – whether it’s from the Analyst Liberia or the Herald Tribune of the United States.
For instance, what does the phrase “lapse in protocol” mean in this ebola story, and why is it only used when a patient outside of the countries on the continent of Africa gets ebola?
Do you realise that it establishes in your mind the natural expectation that in some countries such as the United States and Spain (surprisingly) there are protocols that make it surprising for anyone – especially a health worker – to fall sick, but that in those countries on the continent of Africa where they do, it is normal?
Why is the phrase only introduced months after thousands have died in Liberia and Nigeria and Guinea, and in reference to three or four people elsewhere?
Do you realise that you almost know the name of the pet dog of the Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola yet can’t name a single dead West African even though their DNA is closer to yours than the said sick dog?
Source and read your news analytically, carefully, wisely and pay special attention to all the seasoning you taste as you consume it. Feel free to wash it down with libations that suit your traditional palate, rather than fancy foreign drinks that might disorient you.