There have been numerous accusations from critics who fault the western media for championing an agenda of bias against Africa. They argue that the Western press is guilty of spreading lies and misinformation about the continent and is only interested in promoting tragedies.
According to these critics, the aim of publicizing Africa in a bad light is an agenda by the foreign press to further justify colonialism, racism, and imperialism. They claim that the West commits a lot of resources to propagate misinformation about the continent.
Whereas they do everything humanly possible to showcase their countries in the best colours – and keep its shameful history and dark activities out of the media.
These claims seem to have gotten perhaps their most significant credit yet after a publication that critics say is a confirmation of western bias against Africa.
In what should have been regarded as a positive publication for Africa, Time Magazine recently named Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as one of the top 100 most influential people of the year.
However, the Prime Minister himself and millions of Africans in the continent and the diaspora say there is something wrong with how the African leader was portrayed.
Many Africans are outraged with the way the US magazine depicted the Ethiopian leader when it announced the list of influential people of the year.
Time Magazine said Mr. Abiy’s peace treaty with Eritrea “planted the seeds for an Ethiopian civil war’.’ It also stated that Mr. Abiy, together with Eritrea’s leader, “launched a military campaign against” Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders.
In a letter to the magazine, Mr. Abiy’s office said they are “dismayed” with the way he has been represented as well as the portrayal of who started the country’s civil war.
It describes his depiction as a “character assassination” and accuses it of echoing the narrative of the TPLF - the regional party that has been fighting federal troops in the north.
It has requested the magazine to give an explanation. But there has been no immediate comment from the publication.
You will recall that the conflict in Ethiopia started on 4 November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray after the TPLF forces seized a federal military base.
Critics say that it is the duty of the Prime Minister to protect the lives and properties of citizens. So, there was nothing wrong with his actions.
This is not the first time that critics have condemned the Western media’s skewed coverage and portrayal of Africa.
Recently, the New York Times came under fire for a post it made looking to fill the position.
According to the post, the right candidate would have an opportunity “to dive into news and enterprise across a wide range of countries, from the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, and down through the forests of Congo.”
The ad described the region as one that offered crucial story leads in terrorism, the scrambling for resources, and tussles between dictatorship and democracy.
It also stated that “there is also the chance to delight our readers with unexpected stories of hope and the changing rhythms of life in a rapidly evolving region.”
One school of thought posits that the Western media is Africa’s number one enemy, whose reportage is guided by tired and colonial-era stereotypes.
Critics claim that the latest post by Time Magazine confirms Western bias against Africa. What are your thoughts?