Kikwete tears into western media
By Ludger Kasumuni, Bagamoyo, IPP Media
Thu, Oct 28, 2004
The local media should counter the negative coverage of voiceless people by the powerful western media, according to Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation minister Jakaya Kikwete.
Closing the ninth World Association of Press Councils (WAPC) conference in Bagamoyo on Tuesday, Kikwete said the local media should work hard to overcome the western media which had been disseminating “only negative information on Africa and the Third World in general”.
“Though we do have a fair share of wars and disasters, there is surely more about Africa than coverage of famine, conflicts and disease,” he said.
He added: “The other Africa, of hope and resilience, rich in culture and dignity, is not reported by the western media.”
Kikwete cited the recent elections held in Somalia after 12 years strife in the country, saying, to the surprise of many people, the western media did not bother to give the milestone event the prominence it deserved.
He also cited another case where a weather forecaster in a western TV station said that heavy rains occurring in East Africa were “bad weather” when people living in the region viewed them as a blessing that would improve food production.
Meanwhile, delegates to the WAPC conference passed a number of resolutions aimed at tackling problems faced by the media the world over.
These include a plea to developed countries to assist developing nations in bridging the digital gap that has been affecting free flow of information.
In their statement signed by WAPC President Oktay Eksi and President of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) Prof Geoffrey Mmari, the delegates called on governments to enact constitutional provisions guaranteeing and protecting free media.
Governments should also be pressed to ensure that freedom of information laws provide room for transparency, accountability and guaranteeing self-regulation in the media sector.
It was also resolved that the media all over the world should focus on and never ignore or relegate its duty and role to act as agent for social, economic and political change and development.