The image of Africa from the perspectives of the African diasporic press in the UK

Ogunyemi, Olatunji (2016) The image of Africa from the perspectives of the African diasporic press in the UK. In: Africa's media image in the 21st century: from the "Heart of Darkness" to "Africa Rising". Routledge, London, pp. 61-70. ISBN 9781138962316

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The representation of Africa in the western media remains relatively marginalised compared with other continents in the world. The significance of this should not be underestimated because ‘as globalization and migration continue to encourage the interaction of different peoples and cultures, so the media portrayal of different parts of the world plays an increasingly important role in either discouraging or promoting respect for other cultures’ (Scott, 2009:535). In relation to Africa, scholars have noted that the western media distorts Africa’s image by over-emphasising negative events and employing stereotypes to add colour to the stories. Hence, they urge that ‘recognising voices that challenge stereotypical portrayals is necessary to developing place images that are geographically more accurate’ (Gruley & Duvall, 2012:29). While there is a wealth of literature on the portrayal of Africa in the western media, there is a paucity of research on the image of Africa from the perspectives of the African diasporic press. We need to bridge this hiatus because African diasporas have, in the past two decades, appropriated the new information technology and journalistic professional values to counter the negative and stereotypical portrayal of Africa in the western media and to portray another view of Africa to ‘friends of Africa’ and to the diasporas themselves, some of whom are second and third generations who have never visited Africa, and for whom the media is their main ‘window’ on Africa. Using a case study of the African Voice, a weekly newspaper published in Brixton, London, the chapter examines whether the newspaper projects an alternative image of Africa by subverting the dominant portrayal of Africa in the western media. Textual analysis was adopted to identify the framing devices used to counter the dominant portrayal and to provide alternative perspectives and to determine the extent of source diversity in African stories. And an interview was conducted with the editor to explore the newspaper’s agenda regarding the projection of Africa’s image and how newsroom resources are deployed to achieve them. The findings give us an insight into whether the newspaper contributes to shaping Africa’s image through a better balance than the western press.

Keywords:stereotypes, framing, representation, source diversity, diasporic press, semantic categories
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P500 Journalism
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:23669
Deposited On:01 Aug 2016 13:36

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