where are you getting your news on ebola in liberia, nigeria and guinea?


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.

4 thoughts on “where are you getting your news on ebola in liberia, nigeria and guinea?

  1. I think it’s not as simple and black and white. Firstly, foreign journalists write for foreign news agencies, for which their market is foreign readers, not local readers. Therefore, much of the news about a particular story (e.g. ebola) will be through their interpretation and perspective. Deaths will be more ‘real’ to the audience when they realise it’s one of their own who have died.

    The truth is, the foreign journalists are good at their job. This is in terms of both research AND writing. Therefore, the facts listed will be both broad and in-depth (even though the interpretation of some of these facts are questionable). In addition to this, the writing style of the journalists are one that engage the reader and help them understand the content better.

    I am not an African-pessimist. I have been looking for good news sources and good journalists for a while now, and there are some great ones I’ve found on the continent. Their word, because their both local and good at what they do, becomes more credible than what any foreign correspondent can produce.

    Being ‘African’ isn’t enough for someone to read your story, buy your product or support a brand. It has to be good, and competitive. And the good African journalists and news agencies (who aren’t being snatched by foreign agencies) are getting rewards for this. The best way for African journalism to be supported is for African journalism to produce well.

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    1. Correct to an extent, Pat, and what you say covers some of the issues we are grappling with as a continent. We need to up our standards and seek out those among us who have done so, rather than ‘blindly’ going with the herd or seeing things through the windscreen of a foreign-driven bus.

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  2. I am in total agreement with you. The same is common with Uganda’s journalists. They seem to get news from other western media rather than African media. I asked about this on Tuesday. Dr. Jane Aceng, The Director of health services at the ministry of health was annoyed with the way the media was reporting non-existent Marburg and Ebola cases. This just goes to show how lazy our African media is or has become. They luck that drive to develop contacts in other countries so as to be able to get first hand information and news.

    Good article.

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