ARTICLE: Western Afro-pessimism seeps into African media

African news on Africa are largely negative and thus follow Western notions of the continent, Michael Yao Wodui Serwornoo, of University of Cape Coast, writes. He analysed over 13 000 news stories on other African countries published by four Ghanaian newspapers.

The newspapers’ coverage is highly dependent on international sources, Serwornoo found. The BBC World Service alone was a source in over 58 per cent of the analysed articles. The papers’ own journalists or the Ghana News Agency accounted for only 1.91 per cent of stories. This reliance on foreign news services inevitably has an effect on how Africa gets represented, the author emphasizes.

Serwornoo further analysed a sub-sample of 180 articles for their themes and tones. The results are clear: 80 per cent of the stories were negative. The three most common themes were “war, crime and killing”, “crises” and “terrorism”. This pessimism could negatively impact Ghanaians’, or indeed all Africans’ self-perception, the author suggests.

The article “The coverage of Africa in Ghanaian newspapers” was published by the journal Journalism. It is available online on the publisher’s website (abstract free).

Picture: Untitled by Wilhan José Gomes.

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