Does Africa’s colonial affinity influence reporting by African journalists? – IBNA research

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Does Africa's colonial affinity influence reporting by African journalists?  - IBNA research

Does Africa’s colonial affinity influence reporting by African journalists? – IBNA research

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

Studies of how countries in their home countries reported international news remained a concern for many in North America, Europe, and Africa.

One of the reasons that sparked such debates was the fact that a consistent type of news about a country could feed into the public’s perception and, subsequently, into the global perspective of a country.

Although there are no specific body concepts to underpin international reporting and its arguments, leading opinions looked at two influences on international reporting: Thus, international news is influenced by the intensity of an event. For example, an event should have the ingredients of social aberration with a tendency to create global change, break a country’s norms, and create a sense of weirdness.

Second, the contextual influence of an event could influence international reporting. With regard to contextual reporting of events, journalists take into account the economic status of the country, the position of a country in a world order of countries, the cultural affinity to the country of the journalist, the population size of the country, the geographical distance from the country of the event to the country of reporting.

Colonial affinity as an international news determinant

Aside from these two popular contributors to international reporting, colonial lineages seem to be overlooked. Around 1900 African countries went through a colonial transformation under Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy. This transformation has left many of the colonies behind, despite being independent in order to preserve the language of the colonizers as the official language and to portray Africa as a canvas of predominantly English and French speaking countries.

The shared colonial heritage has to a greater extent led to a pseudo-cultural or linguistic affinity that continues to influence the coverage of African countries by the African media or journalists. It is therefore believed that journalists from former colonies in British Anglophones Africa are likely to report more on former British African countries than former colonies (countries) of French Africa.

These assumptions about Ghana (an Anglophone former British colony probably encompassing more Anglo-African than Franco-African countries) led to this study. Two state-run Ghanaian daily print media: Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times were selected for their national reach. The analysis period extended from August to December 2020.

The units of investigation for this analysis were limited to the African news page in both of the selected newspapers. A systematic and reproducible research methodology with a code validity was used in the analysis, which yielded the following results: In an analysis of 258 daily newspapers covering 68 African countries, Daily Graphic (reporting on 35 countries) covered 69% more Anglophone colonial countries, while Ghanaian ones Times (covering 33 countries) reported 65% English speaking countries. To a greater extent, these results indicate how colonial affinity might influence the coverage of African news in African media.

This study has its limits and encourages further comparative studies of the Francophone African media with other Anglophone African media. A similar study could also look at television and radio media. However, it is interesting to see how colonial legacies have blossomed into news affinity and its influence on international reporting. From the study results, it can be concluded that Africa’s colonial affinity influences the reporting of African journalists about Africa, as shown in the following graphs.

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