Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Cash for Coverage

Posted: January 18, 2016 in African emancipation, Media, The press

Revolution will not be televised.jpg

In developing countries, more people trust the media than their governments; this is from a past report based on a ten-country opinion poll for the BBC, Reuters, and The Media Center. For instance, people in the US have a 67% trust on their governance against the media, unlike developing countries like Nigeria where they trust the media 88% versus 34% on the government.

Which got me contemplative, just how innocent is the media in the face of its public? How much should we discern what we read and see? The hard reality is that there are more than a few cases of journalists accepting money from people or agencies which they’ve interviewed, or are doing stories about. An extreme issue for the profession and quite a raw deal for the unsuspecting public. Ethics versus survival, it seems difficult for many to take the high road, especially when, “everybody else does it….”

Indeed, it is a single problem with many faces that would need a communal approach: How do we collectively salvage ourselves from this deep rooted culture of corruption (that is not just unique to Africa)? What can we do better or more assertively to address this dark side of journalism?

…. Cash For Coverage discusses: Enjoy Your Read!


Numerous challenges stand in the way of Africa’s ambition, one might lax, stuck amidst this tangles of economic and social fails that have crippled progress.

Why do we fail, wandering aimlessly unable to feed our children and yet countries with a fraction of the resources we boast of manage to become first class nations amidst of the worst of economic crises?

More than 218 million people live in extreme poverty. Poverty has made the continent writhe in other opportunities fiends like climate change yet its economies rely on climate-dependent sectors such as water-fed agriculture, and its capacities to cope and adapt are generally limited.

What’s worse when breaks like HIV/AIDS, corruption, conflict and wars keep stagnating this fight against poverty.

So has money set us apart? Yes the lack of it at least. – Undoubtedly, poverty has put an unbearable strain on Africa.

However, while noting Africa’s maladies it would be dispiriting not to mention the improvement in telecom innovation has broadly improved quality of life across sub-Saharan Africa. There has been an increase in African countries that have embraced technology as a driver of development, e.g. Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Rwanda’s rapid ICT growth.  Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s impressive economic performance over the past decade, which has resulted in marginal poverty reduction, her way to economic liberation is still beset with thorny issues that need a massive and quick clean up!

Africa has remained aloof, missing out on technologies and innovations opportunities that have seen other regions massively reaping gains.

And in the face of this, we still do not see much allegiance by parliamentarians in investing in research institutions and efforts towards innovation and entrepreneurship.

The latest world University ranking proves this as only three universities in Africa, all in South Africa, made it to the top 400 in the 2012/2013 Reuters/Times Higher Education.

Countries are making a kill from technology and innovation, yet what we see in our backyards are continuous ranting about political supremacy rather than issue-based politics, a distraction to the public and an amusement backed by our media.

Africa, a great consumer of technological knowledge from other region’s innovations still falters behind, lacking aggressive policies and commitment to build its own capacities.

In order to change this, we need a serious reform of our priorities to fit in reforms that would fast pace our economic issues.

What better way than promoting policies that would boost business science, research agricultural productivity, for example?

Our governments need to encourage its own initiatives aiming at transforming Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) knowledge structures. Initiatives like tech hubs need to be supported by governments and the private sector.

We need to buzz up these young African talents and the works to increase the competitive impact they so aim.

We need to need to tap into the private sector; continual handouts will not liberate us. Our leadership needs to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurs can foster their small and medium–size sized companies.

Access to capital needs to be improved to help firms establish strategic partnerships within and beyond the region.

Most of us have now earned ourselves 50 years of independence, yet we are trapped in the continuance reliance of on NGOs and hand-outs. Crippled with widespread corruption that is costly and that has derailed development and augmented socio-economic disparities.

Our problems may seem complex but one sure thing is that innovation and entrepreneurship are the best comebacks to set us a competitive edge, globally. And true to this cheeky quote, whoever said money can’t buy happiness, just doesn’t know where to shop.

Almost two disasters of significant proportions are recorded every week in Africa since 2000. (UNISDR)

The number of people exposed to floods in in Sub-Saharan grew from 500,000 per year in 1970 to almost 2 million per year in 2010. A new UN report, Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2011) reveals.

“Around 400 million people in the region live below the poverty line, and 200 million are considered to be under-nourished. Income poverty and food insecurity play a major role in land degradation, as the poor and hungry are forced to over-exploit natural resources to meet their immediate needs for survival,” UNISDR.

More so, the Media has always been the vanguard of providing information in the event and the aftermath of these disasters, be it droughts, floods, landslides etc. The challenge posed is: If the need to communicate is most pressing at a time of disaster, just how much more is it in preventing that disaster?

Disaster reduction as opposed to disaster response evades unnecessary and costly loss of both lives and property. For this reason, disaster risk management should be considered as an investment for any country, and the media can ascertain to this only if they change their manner of reporting disasters.

The Gar 11 further reveals that that disaster risk is an investment to any country drawing several examples.

New York

“New York has chosen an alternative: instead of spending US $6.8 billion in conventional pipe and tank improvements, it has decided to invest US$5.3 billion in green infrastructure – permeable pavements, more green areas, and other measures to address its problem of drainage capacity. Green infrastructure acts like a sponge – absorbing and regulating peak water flows.

Brazil to India

Countries from Brazil to India have shown that mechanisms designed to address structural poverty can be used to stop disaster prone households from sliding into poverty by providing a buffer. These programmes reach out to millions of households (12 million households in Brazil reached with only one programme – Bolsa Familia) and can be adapted at relatively low additional costs. The government has only last week announced that it wants to expand this programme (mid-June 2011).

Chile Earthquake

For example, after the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami, the Chilean Government extended payments from the country’s social assistance programmes, Chile Solidario and Programa Puente, to households affected by the February 2010 earthquake, whether they were structurally poor or not.”

“Greater public awareness can translate into greater government accountability” (HFA Mid-Term Review 2010-2011).  More coverage is thus needed to sensitize the public and influence policy underlying issues that affect the economy such as the direct correlation between disaster-related economic losses and the limited investment in risk management particularly at the local level.

Lighters up…

Posted: October 2, 2007 in Media

to all journalists who have laid down their lives,

…to Naggai, a journalist to his last breath.

He stared at it, at death with his camera. Kenji Nagai, a 50 year old Japanese photographer was among those killed during a protest in Yagon, Myanmar. He continued to record images even when the police charged and fired at the protestors, as he lay dying.

The inhumanity and the injustice in it, is not legendary of the Japanese government.

That he died a brave journalist is honorary worthy to be celebrated.



Pictures of Naggai as he tried to take pictures before he died.

Who blunted the Watchdogs teeth?

Posted: February 5, 2007 in Media

Just how innocent is the Kenyan media in the face of its publics? How much should we discern what we read and see? How different is the state from the press, when they survive in some sort of symbiosis? The government maneuvers the media to lay itself in good light; the media exposes the government and puts in information in a more shocking way to sell more newspapers. We are careful to whisper behind closed doors that the politics that brews in Kenyan newsrooms are not that disparate from those in bunge.

Just like the government, the press has been accused of corruption, malice and has played a big part of what Kenya is or is not today.

With the hands that puppeteers our media transcending ordinary, the press has many a times been culpable of not devoting much focus on the poor man’s plight. By doing so, the media: 1) denies a people a voice that would instigate change in governments or incite donors to assist towards sustained development; 2) the media might also ignite a sense isolation and hopelessness that many a times precedes violence.

Nonetheless, media ought to feel indebted to the poor man’s perpetual trust in what they hear on radio and see splattered as headlines. In developing countries, more people trust the media than their governments; this is according to a ten-country opinion poll for the BBC, Reuters, and The Media Center. For instance, people in the US have a 67% trust on their governance against the media, unlike developing countries like Nigeria where they trust the media 88% versus 34% on the government.