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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Media war: The devastating effects of media propaganda on Africa’s development

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By Ebrima S Jallow

Media is a ‘dangerous’ platform that has over the years changed the socio-political outlook of the African continent. Powerful and influential countries have always used these tools to downgrade developing countries; or even fight for political and economic dominance over other competing ones. It is indisputable that some international radio and television stations have become the mouth pieces of their respective countries. This is a fact not a concocted story. We have seen or heard the propaganda broadcasting that the BBC, CNN, France 24, DW, Aljazeera and other anti-Africa infamous Western televisions have incarcerated the image of Africa’s development. These media outlets have been bias on their reportage about this stereotypical continent of ours.

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In Africa, the media business seems to be in slumber as most people have not fully comprehended the effects of negative propaganda on the continent’s development. Many African countries still linger dependent on the financial support of Western donors and aid agencies to survive and to develop their economies. It is also a fact that many African policies are still defined by those who provide assistance in the form of aid and loans. When policies are made and amended, they are branded in such a way that the lion’s share is given to the donor country to carve out a beneficiary plan for itself. In most cases, the frameworks are solidly based on the untapped resources of the recipient country. There are other strategic reasons why a country can also benefit from direct financial assistance.

Some countries seek to have strategic military potentials in the aided countries’ defence policy in exchange for money in the form of loans or grants. For example, France has military bases in some African countries to fortify their grip on neo-colonial agenda as well as to help in its fight against the so-called terror in the Sahel.
Most often, donor countries use this advantage to have leverage on how a country governs itself and its people. The democracy and human rights advocacy is always at the heart of this political game of chess. In most cases, this is used to camouflage the donor country’s actual intentions, while behind the scenes they press hard on the donated country to deliver on their demands. Many countries have in a way suffered and benefited from this. Deliberate attempt is sometimes made to use rogue regimes to access much needed resources to meet the demands of the donor country’s industrial sector. In such cases, the political framework of the recipient country becomes irrelevant; only the direct economic benefit becomes worthwhile.

In the same vein, the aided countries are denied the responsibility to map out and implement their own programmes. Instead, regulations are fashioned out for them to follow. These may not be in the best interest of the aid receiver. The western media has a big role to play in this instance; portraying Africa as a failed continent, extremely poor and unable to manage its own affairs which culminated to reliance on the west for survival and existence. A clear proof of this is the circulated, infamous message by Donald Trump that Africa is good for nothing, but begging and dependency. He even went further to question the viability of predestination which is the base-belief of all Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism).

Many African media outlets are often heard and observed admiring the so-called first world countries for their miraculous performance in developing their countries and for the destructive and presumable ‘happy go easy life-style’ of its citizens. Have they ever questioned or raised cameras over the financial sources of these life-styles they brood admiring? Ironically, these countries spoken well-of, or better still called developed countries are also dependent on the African continent for their entire existence; for without our resources, they would be doomed. They are developing and feeding their people through mercilessly ransacking the natural resources of many African countries.

There are some media outlets that have tried to speak the truth and inform their citizens the realities of the effects of neo-colonialism and the negative media campaigns to discredit the image of Africa, thereby hindering the development process in pursuit to fulfilling their ill-fated interests. Such media outlets have been considered media fundamentalists and on the line to be discredited and sometimes prone to be blackout through the infamous jamming.

The special interest groups and the media corporates are one and the same when it comes to securing Western interests. No one dares to stand on their way, either by criticizing or blockading. They put together their available power, ‘the special interest groups through manipulation and intimidation while the media corporates through defamation and spreading lies’, to destroy the image of Africa.

Interestingly, the table is now turning around; most of these have become unravelled and people all over the world have come to understand the rules of the game. The tricks behind the looting spree are exposed. As most intellectuals believe that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon to conquer ignorance and retrogression’; gone are the days when eco-political missionaries clad themselves behind false development paradigms; acting like God’s development emissaries to Africa. People are now aware; and knowledge is tremendously increasing. Africa has no longer become the dreadful continent it used to be called.

The Africa media outlets should stand firm on their feet to change the status quo. The media war can only be defeated when our own outlets take the responsibility to reshape, redefined and retell the Africa’s own story; because the truth is others will not.
Africa is the history of man’s survival; and shall remain the future of universal happiness and progression.

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