African Journalists have failed in reporting diversity

November 21, 2015

It is clear to us now that the danger of racism and xenophobia is lurking in African countries in all its different forms.Therefore, xenophobia and racism may be categorised as the enemy of humanity in Africa if not all over the World. Undeniably, the danger of xenophobia and racism has damaged the pillars of African’s social life. Not a single country condones xenophobia and racism, because it is a denial of God’s creation.African countries may have become more multicultural thanks to advances in transportation and communication technology but the continent for more than 1 billion people is not necessarily a safer place to live in. Some parts of Africa are still engulfed in wars and conflicts, others in tensions that divide societies along racial, ethnic or religious lines.But what are African journalists to do about this?Media practitioners have failed to discuss this particular issue.The African media must transform diversity, which is a fact of life, into pluralism, which is a set of values and societies across Africa must recognise, accept and then defend and promote diversity on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance.Getting diversity accepted is the role of the education system, and acceptance is the role of the law which would promote and defend diversity is the task of the media.As Contador Harrison,I have noted with concern how xenophobia and racism had found their way into the election platforms of political parties in some African countries, and that once elected they would push to turn their anti-immigration agendas into policy.

Pretoria City in South Africa.The country has a well documented history of xenophobia and racial segregation
Pretoria City in South Africa.The country has a well documented history of xenophobia and racial segregation

I also think that African scholars who give intellectual legitimacy to racism and xenophobia, one of them who wrote about the so-called “”Africans threat”” to the South Africa in a recent article carried online by a respected scholarly journal.Conspicuously absent at dialogs among African journalists despite the fact that almost all countries are facing the challenges of multiculturalism. Particularly challenging to countries like South Africa, Kenya is the presence of growing Muslim communities in their midst.The concentration of media ownership in Africa is also a big challenges as questions about the credibility of the media has continuously been cited as a factor impeding fighting against racism and xenophobia in Africa.The freedom of the media is essential for journalists to do their job effectively in multicultural societies. Freedom of the media is concerned with defending and protecting diversity.There is need to support the idea for the dialog came in the wake of the controversy over the publication of stories that deemed offensive by a section of religious groups in Africa this year. The controversy although well managed, became one pitting freedom of expression against those calling on the media to show greater cultural sensitivity. A consensus should be reached that freedom of expression and sensitivity to the cultural and religious sentiments of others could go hand in hand.That is only possible, however, when every journalist and media house concerned is aware of the cultural and religious sensitivities of other societies, hence the need for constant dialog.

Contador Harrison