INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS SHARE THEIR ORDEALS
*Caption: (from far left) Mohamed Ali, Hamza Idris, Kassim Mohamed and Michael Obert discuss their encounters and views on Reporting on Terrorism in Africa.
Written by: Zama Ngcoya
Attendees of the 2016 African Investigative Journalism Conference got food for thought from leading investigative journalists at the Panel Discussion titled Reporting on Terrorism in Africa, chaired by Zoey Flood, on the second day of the three-day conference.
The panel, which was made up of leading investigative journalists, Mohamed Ali, Kassim Mohamed, Michael Obert and Hamza Idris who did a comparison between the reporting between African and western media, discussed the challenging factors faced by investigative journalists in Africa in relation to the availability of resources and the state of their wellbeing, amongst other things.
According to Ali, western media has no boundaries when reporting on African stories.
“I think when the western media is covering Africa, there is no limit, there is no ethics that is for them. A good example, when there is something bad happening in Africa, a massacre, an attack, then there’s pictures of dead people, bloody images, survivor and all of that. They are trying to show its citizens of the world that that country is not peaceful, it shouldn’t be there because it’s a bloody country, and people are dying,” said Ali.
He added that images are not shown equally and that poses a problem when it comes to covering Africa and that when the African culture, and Africa in general is not understood, then there is a problem and that practices applied back at home (western countries) should also be applied in Africa.
According to Idris, in Africa, they do not have the kind of resources to report properly on news, and they do not have the medium to tell the story. He also admitted that although they are on this line of work through devotion, he admits that there is a fair share of difficulty which they face as journalists, and that they are victims too who seldom get a chance to tell their stories.
Obert encouraged other journalists to always look at the bigger picture.
“We are all in the same boat. It’s a common effort and we should try to keep skin colour, race and origin out of telling a story,” said Obert.
Ali closed off by emphasising that stories from Africa, be told by Africans.