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What is the role of a free press in a democracy?

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th November 2009 03:00 AM

EDITOR—When Zambian-born Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid was published earlier this year, I anticipated this highly pertinent book to generate front-page headlines and trigger off an intelligent debate in the media and on campuses across Africa.

EDITOR—When Zambian-born Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid was published earlier this year, I anticipated this highly pertinent book to generate front-page headlines and trigger off an intelligent debate in the media and on campuses across Africa.

To my chagrin, African editors basically gave Dead Aid a blind eye! Any mention of the book in Africa was just a few lines buried in the inside pages. Ask just about any African what they think of Dambisa Moyo and you will hear: Dambisa who? Interestingly, Dead Aid was a New York Times bestseller.

It has also featured prominently in The Washington Post and other major US newspapers, plus on the BBC, C-Span, you name it. On April 3, Time magazine named Dambisa Moyo one of the world’s 100 most influential people based on the strength of her stop-aid-to-Africa book.

I hold no brief for Dr Moyo nor do I personally know her. Dead Aid having grabbed the attention of the citadel of US press freedom, I question the editorial judgment which went into censoring her topical book in astonishing Africa.

In contrast, UK journalist Michela Wrong’s It Is Our Turn to Eat (on the stench in Mwai Kibaki’s corrupt Kenya), published a month after Dead Aid, was accorded royal treatment by editorial departments across Africa. Based on this water-tight evidence, African editors are guilty of racial bias against their own.

As opposed to Africa’s academic junk that litters our campuses and lecture halls, here is an intelligent African woman who is investing her knowledge in a great cause only to be denied a book review by her home continent’s supposedly free press.

We have no newspapers! It is bad editorial judgment to trash such a newsworthy story as Moyo’s and instead let idiots in their true colours spew pure nonsense and talk about their anatomy in our ‘newspapers’. What is the role of a free press in a democracy?
Bosire Mosi United States

What is the role of a free press in a democracy?

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