Friday, October 8, 2010

Africa: Still in the Heart of Darkness?

CNN, Todo Noticias, BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera, Zee News, CCTV-9, and Sky News Australia are some of the top 24-hour news channels around the world. But if you look at the list carefully you will notice that these channels are only indigenous to North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, South and East Asia, and Oceania. According to Cottle and Rai, there is not a single indigenous 24-hour news channel available in the ENTIRE continent of Africa!

After discussing the pervasiveness of 24-hour news, one must wonder why Africa would not produce a single station. Oceania only has one, but this can be explained by the small population; whereas, in the case of Africa this problem does not exist and one would imagine that there would be a viability of multiple players in the news market.

I think that the central reason for Africa not having a single indigenous 24-hour news channel MUST be culturally based. Cottle and Rai note that the continent does have satellite channels that include news content; however, they are not 24-hour news channels and have a degree of entertainment and drama content. Perhaps this reflects that many Africans are not as enthusiastic about politics as other regions of the world. Cottle and Rai also comment that financial reasons may be the cause for no 24-hour news services. But in a continent which contains Nollywood, the highest producing movie industry, it is hard for me to believe that the finances don't exist to support ONE 24-hour news channel.

In a continent with so many developmental issues, I would imagine that Africans would have a particular interest in producing their own channel to portray issues of health, political corruption and economic growth. To think that African's just do not have personal interest in politics seems absurd... "The horror! The horror!"

Cottle, S. & Rai, M. Global mediations: On the changing ecology of satellite television news

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it is a problem that there are no 24 hour news stations in the continent of Africa. It is very important for a country to be able to see what is happening in their country through the eyes of their own people and point of view. Another reason for this may be because of the sheer number of countries and cultures that are represented on the continent as well as the clashes between communities in and between countries.

    I would also think that the lack of technology among people in communities might also be a reason. If there is a news station but no one has a television to watch the station then what's the point? Another economic issue may be that people just have bigger more pressing daily concerns such as working to eat and just live and 24 news stations may seem like a luxury that they can't afford let alone waste valuable working time watching.

    Whatever the case a regional news station that is indigenous to Africa is definitely something worth striving for.