Africa is so much more than Ebola

Ebola shouldn't dominate the media coverage of Africa

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The Independent Online

Today programme editor Jamie Angus has concerns that the Ebola outbreak could dominate media coverage of Africa to the exclusion of any positive news.

“There is a risk that, in focusing too much on ‘bad news from Africa’, UK media do not end up reflecting the reality of life for the vast majority there,” he tells me.

Angus spent two years covering Africa for the World Service and has commissioned a three-part special for the Radio 4 flagship this week on the continent’s fast-evolving relationship with media.

“The BBC will always tell the most pressing hard-news stories – currently, the urgent relief required to contain Ebola in some West African countries – but … we need to retain a sense that people in countries like Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have recognisably similar lives to audiences in the UK.”

 

Alan Kasujja, a star of the World Service in Africa, hosts the radio segment, which will highlight the crucial role of the medium and how the dial in Nairobi now hosts 130 networks. He agrees with Angus and fears a diverse continent being portrayed only as the helpless victims of one location. “As a journalist in Africa, you know how much innovation is taking place. There are a million stories about people doing amazing things with very little,” he says. “With Ebola, it feels like Africa is a country rather than a continent.”

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