By Moses Mulondo
THE vice-president, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, has urged African media experts to fight the negative portrayal of the continent in the global media. â€œMedia reports about Africa today are on disease, poverty, hunger, wars, and other forms of natural and man-made disasters. It is because people in the media industry have let us down. The good side of Africa has been buried,â€ Bukenya said in a speech read by Kirunda Kivejinja, the information minister, at a conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala last week.
Bukenya observed that Africaâ€™s natural endowments, investment opportunities, progress in education, regional integrations, and progress in democratic rule, had been neglected by the global media.
â€œThe communication of doom for Africa is not good for our economies neither is it helping in attracting foreign direct investments,â€ said the vice-president.
He called upon African media stakeholders to vehemently oppose the tendency of foreigners setting the agenda for African communication and marketing.
Eric Chinje, the African Development Bank communications officer, said the predominance of negative reports about Africa had led foreigners to regard the continent negatively.
â€œThat global negative media image of Africa has done a great disservice to our dear continent. It makes outsiders think that Africa is like Darfur and Somalia. It has scared potential visitors and entrepreneurs.â€
He added: â€œOur development partners should know that overcoming poverty in Africa will also mean transforming the global perceptions of the continent.â€
Chinje encouraged African leaders to fight African crises. â€œIt would be unfair to say the media houses manufacture Africaâ€™s crises. It is the responsibility of African leaders to fight war, poverty, ignorance, and diseases. They are the ones who have let us down most. â€