, ADDIS ABABA, Nov 9 – Deputy President William Ruto has challenged the media in Africa to take the lead in reporting positive stories from the continent.
Ruto says Africa continues to get negative publicity from Western media as journalists from the continent watch.
“Instead of contending with narratives whose objectives are well known, and waging futile war against the purveyors of such unjust narratives, I propose that Africa tells its own story, beats its own drum, sings its own song, and dances to its own beat,” Ruto said when he addressed the 6th edition of the Africa Media Leaders Conference in Addis Ababa on Friday.
The theme of the conference that brought together leading media managers and editors from across the continent was ‘Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression.’
The deputy president described the theme as intriguing saying it contradicted the perception of Africa as created by Western media.
“According to the prevailing international narrative, it actually is hopelessly contradictory, or at least, thoroughly confusing,” he said.
Ruto said the Western press portrays African governments as authoritarian, repressive and dictatorial ignoring all other positive things happening in the continent.
He said the future of Africa lay in its ability to tell its own story rather than relying on others that he said had no interest in a successful Africa.
“I am speaking about Africa owning its narrative. That is the one true gift Africa and AU can give to the people of this continent: the chance to have our voices heard. That is the Uhuru of our time. The true meaning of freedom,” Ruto told the conference.
The Africa Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma echoed Ruto’s sentiments and challenged journalists in Africa to tell the world about Africa as it is. She said Africa was being unfairly portrayed as a continent plagued with disease, hunger and war.
“Surely there is something positive about Africa that should be told,” Zuma said.