African media leaders said on Thursday that there must be more intensive collaboration between Africa and the BRICS in the media sector so that the authentic African story can be told and the continent’s successes celebrated, as the African story and the BRICS story are intertwined.
They made this call when they attended a panel discussion on BRICS media and Africa held under the 3rd BRICS Media Forum, which concluded on Thursday in Cape Town, South Africa.
Among the significant issues that emerged in the course of the discussion and interactions with delegates to the forum were the need to establish an authentic, durable and economically sustainable media footprint on the continent through which the real African story could be told, effectively building a counterpoint to Western media outlets which have long dominated the African media landscape.
Carol Annang of New Times Media Ghana, said that the issue of how the African story is told and who tells this story can only be addressed in a holistic manner, where African media institutions take initiative to radically shift course.
“Africa needs our own distribution platform, identifiable with us, which we control, which is not dictated by Google, or other entities which have been dominant,” Annang stated.
She explained that this platform could be realized through a proper and structurally sound collaboration with institutions of growing prominence in the BRICS.
“Africa has a significant population which is a force to be reckoned with, but first we’ve got to start by collaboration, talking to each other, relating, getting to know one another, and in this way we build confidence with each other and with BRICS,” she stated.
Aly Ramji of The Exchange, Tanzania, also addressed the question of the collateral damage that results from an improper, deliberately distorted or unauthentic reporting of certain stories, where certain outlets served particular agendas in how stories are reported.
Ramji later explained that there could be a significant counterpoint in ensuring a holistic recounting of the African story. But to achieve this, it would require partnerships with BRICS to deal with capacity building initiative.
“The challenge is to realize that there are gaps in African media which cannot be fulfilled so entities from the West dominate the media landscape,” Ramji said.
Ramji said that BRICS entities can help Africa to build capacity, disseminate news from an African perspective, thereby building alignment and strengthening an authentic footprint, Ramji stated.
Andrew Kangwa of the Kenya Standard stated that “we have our own unique stories that we must tell. We must celebrate our successes and we must go beyond what we have done now,” Kangwa added.
The two-day forum was co-hosted by South Africa’s Independent Media and China’s Xinhua News Agency and themed as “BRICS Media Cooperation – Fostering an Inclusive, Just World Order”.