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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

African media must take charge of African narratives – Nyaggah

African media practitioners have been tasked to take charge of narratives coming from the continent, says the Executive Director, Local Development Research Institute (LDRI), Mr. Muchiri Nyaggah, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, he said, must be done specifically in the coverage of agriculture sector whilst enmeshing the narratives with relevant data in order to tell the stories more explicitly.

Nyaggah gave this charge in a presentation he made at a three-day Reporting Agriculture workshop in Abidjan, the Cote D’Iviore capital organised by the Africa Media Initiative (AMI) in conjunction with the World Bank.

Dwelling on “Using Data in Reporting on Agriculture in Africa” Nyaggah cited an instance with the recent report on Kibera’s people which was largely exaggerated to be between 800,00 and 1million people; purportedly living in the shanty town in an area of only 255 hectares, meaning that population density is so high that people have only about 1 meter space per three persons each.

The report, he noted however, added that over 100,000 children were believed to be orphans due to the high incidence, but according to him, this story was very far away from the truth because it was being reported from the eyes of foreign media elements in collusion with some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who did not do their home-works well.

To take charge of the narrative, Nyaggah said Africa needs evidence to fix it’s challenges, because, “He who has the data controls the narrative.”

African media practitioners, he said, could only hold their governments accountable when their stories or narratives are backed with evidences based on relevant data, giving another instance that the World Health Organisation (WHO) otherwise known as the World Health Assembly (WHA) has target on nutrition that there would be about 40 per cent reduction in the number of children under 5 who are stunted by 2025.

He pointed out that story on nutrition for instance has data from WHO to back it up, such narrative would make a better sense both in understanding and seriousness by the authorities, mostly in a developing economies like Africa.

Nyaggah recalled that in 2014, the African Union Heads of State and Government recommitted themselves to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) principles and objectives in Malabo.

He emphasised that 65 per cent of Africa’s labour force is employed in the agriculture sector and contributes just over 30 per cent of the continent’s GDP, coupled with the increasing need to achieve food sufficiency for 1.5 billion people by 2020 makes agricultural transformation pivotal to achieving the Health Policy Initiative (HPI) objectives.

The LDRI boss, insisted that African media practitioners have not been very philanthropic with the power of narratives due to lack of supporting data and enjoined them to explore the use of data in their editorial contents.

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