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General News of Thursday, 30 September 2021

Source: Kofi Ken, Contributor

Africa’s colonial affinity influencing African journalists’ news reporting? - IBNA research

An event should have the ingredients of social deviance with a tendency to cause a global change An event should have the ingredients of social deviance with a tendency to cause a global change

The international news reporting debate has been going on since the 1960s.

Studies on how countries have been covering international news in their home countries remained a concern for many in North America, Europe, and Africa.

Among the reasons that spurred such debates was the fact that a consistent type of news about a country could translate into public perception and subsequently how a country is viewed globally.

Although there are no specific body concepts underpinning international news coverage and its arguments, leading opinions considered two international news coverage influences: Thus, international news is influenced by the intensity of an event. For instance, an event should have the ingredients of social deviance with a tendency to cause a global change, breaking the norms of a country and with a sense of oddity.

Secondarily, the contextual impact of an event could influence international news coverage. In terms of contextual event news coverage, journalists are perceived to consider the economic status of the country, location of a country in a world-order of countries, cultural affinity to the journalist’s country, the population size of the country, the geographical distance of the event-country to the country of coverage.

Colonial Affinity as an International News Determinant

Besides these two popular international news coverage influencers, colonial lineages seem to be overlooked. By 1900, African countries went through a colonial transformation under Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. This transformation has left many of the colonies although independent, to maintain the colonisers' language as official language rendering Africa as a canvas of predominantly English and French-speaking countries.

To a larger extent, the shared colonial legacies have led to a pseudo cultural or lingual affinity that continues to influence how African countries are covered by Africa’s media or journalists. It is therefore a belief that former British Anglophone Africa colonies’ journalists are likely to report more on former British African countries than former French Africa colonies (countries).

These assumptions of Ghana (an Anglophone former British colony likely to cover more Anglo African countries than French African countries) lead to this study. Two Ghanaian state-owned daily print media: Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times were selected based on their national reach. The period for the analysis was from August to December 2020.

The study units for this analysis were limited only to the African news page in both selected newspapers. A systematic and replicable examination methodology was used in the analysis with a coder validity which yielded the following results: In an analysis of 258 daily newspapers covering 68 African, Daily Graphic (Reporting on 35 countries) covered 69% more Anglophone colonial affiliated countries whilst Ghanaian Times (Reporting on 33 countries) reported 65% Anglophone countries. These results to a larger extent suggest how colonial affinity could be influencing the coverage of African news in African media.

This study has its limitations and encourages further comparative studies of Francophone African media with other Anglophone African media. A similar investigation could look at television and radio media too. It is however interesting to witness how colonial legacies have blossomed into news affinity and its influence on international news coverage. From the study results, one may conclude that Africa’s colonial affinity is influencing African Journalists’ News reporting on Africa as depicted in the charts below.

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