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Friday, 27 July 2012


So the European Union says sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe might be lifted, if a credible constitution referendum is organised. The US on its part says its restrictions would be removed only if there is a peaceful election. My question is, 'Who cares?' Zimbabwe has survived the worst that these sanctions could have been envisioned to bring.

So why should an African media outlet just rush to publicise what new conditions the western powers have given, for lifting the sanctions against Zimbabwe, without at least inviting discussion on whether there could be other hidden reasons, or if actually it's a realisation that Zimbabwe can as well trod on without EU or US support?

In my opinion, there is a fatal folly of the African press, reporting these developments, in the same vein as western media houses, which reinforces the domineering practise and attitudes towards Third World countries.

Similarly, is it fair for a media house in Africa to report widely that the American government has warned its citizens against travelling to the same country, where the same media house is based, due to an imminent terror attack?

That question is usually examined as an afterthought, long after the contents have been published or broadcast.

Such rash editorial decisions are mostly hinged on a blatant commodification of news, without the benefit of dissecting underlying factors or related implications of disseminating sensitive information.

Double edged travel advisories

If, in the above example, the media house is owned by Americans or caters for a clientele that is significantly American, or with substantial interests in American affairs, then it can probably not be faulted for rushing to the press, with 'gory' details of negative travel advisories.

But a media house based in Africa and majorly serving local consumers, must re-examine the elements of public and state interests, as it crafts news stories from travel advisories from 'external powers.'

It's contradictory for African media houses to deliberately seek to champion local, regional or continental concerns and at times even boldly pointing out cases of these western powers lording over developing countries, only for them to be among the first to pander to strategic interests of the same powers?

It will be interesting to examine in retrospect, how South Africa's decision to still import crude oil from Iran, will be covered by African media outlets.

I indeed at times see journalism and patriotism, as being two sides of the local currency coin.

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