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Centre of African Studies: Events


Case for Global Retreat?

Case for Global Retreat?: Pan African(ist) Media, ‘Brand Africa’ and the New Politics of Otherness
Speaker: George Ogola # Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Central Lancashire
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Date and Time
29th Feb 2012 16:00 - 29th Feb 2012 18:00
Seminar room 2, CMB, 15a George Square


Case for global retreat?  pan-African(ist) media, ‘brand Africa’ and the new politics of Otherness

Since the 1970s a number of pan-African media initiatives have attempted to develop ‘alternative’ news narratives to counter the circulation of perceived negative images of Africa in the international news media. However, faced with myriad challenges – both practical and ideological – most have had limited, if any, success at all. Using examples of these pan-African(ist) media initiatives including the Pan-African News Agency (PANA), SABC-Africa and South Africa’s Naspers-owned Multichoice, this discussion attempts to address questions on why a successful pan-Africanist media project remains ‘a dream deferred’. The discussion revolves around three main issues. First, it challenges the conceptual framework and vocabulary within which some of the media initiatives are anchored. It asks why, for instance, there remains a tendency to homogenize Africa when the interventions are predicated on the need to confront totalizing narratives that effectively essentialize the continent. Does the failure of pan-African media initiatives to acknowledge the continent’s diversity, even incoherence, undermine their attempts to develop counter-narratives capable of telling the ‘African’ stories? Second, I look at the international communication infrastructure and its ‘walled gates’ and how this hinders the growth and influence of pan-African media organizations.  Finally, I suggest ways in which we may re-conceptualise the idea of a pan-African consciousness and the pan-African(ist) media agenda.