Mathata Tsedu, Editor-in-Chief of City Press and Chairman of the African Editors Forum, says African reporters' inability to stop blaming Western media for poor coverage of African issues as a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œtragedyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, writes Jackie Bischof.
Tsedu was responding to comments from the audience after a panel discussion on ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œReporting Africa for Africans and the WorldÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â at the 14th World Editors Forum in Cape Town.
Tsedu said that it was unfortunate that the responses had gravitated towards ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œlambasting the Western mediaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, and that the discussion had not moved from ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œmourningÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â poor coverage to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œplanningÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Panelists agreed that African journalists should take African issues into their own hands and provide their own perspective. Executive chairman of Endemol Moeletsi Mbeki said that Africans needed to remove the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œchip from the shoulderÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and move past notions of victimization.
Guy Berger, head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University said that journalists had to move from a situation of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œwhinge to win -winÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and provide their own versions of reality.
Executive editor of Punch in Nigeria Azu Ishiekwene said that for journalists to accurately report on and contextualise African issues they should have specialized knowledge, numeracy, fluency in foreign languages, extensive contacts across continent and the world and analytic skills. He also said that African reporters should push to put more positive news stories on the global agenda.
However, several members of the audience, including the editor of The Zimbabwe Times, Geoffrey Nyarota, said that journalists were struggling to write positive stories about African in negative environments.