Was Africa the first victim of fake news?

On February 28, African Centre for Media Excellence hosted BBC’s Nancy Kacungira at its first public talk this year. The talks are a programme of aCME intended to expand the spaces for dialogue, debate and in-depth reporting on public affairs.

Ms Kacungira, a multi award-winning journalist spoke about African journalism in the digital age, reminding participants of the need for Africa to retell its story and undo the narrative constructed by the Western media. She said that for Africa, the phenomenon of ‘fake news’ is no surprise as the continent has suffered it at the hands of outsiders who tell a one-sided, skewed story of Africa.

“I think Africa was the first victim of fake news. The whole truth about the continent was never told,” Kacungira told the room of journalists, journalism students, social advocates and keen media watchers.

She said what many African journalists are doing is edit an already written story. “We need to rewrite it,” she added.

Kacungira encouraged journalists in Africa to take up the digital space and own it. “Don’t play catch up, be innovative. Create. Have your own narrative,” she urged.

She said we seem to be stuck in a place where all we do is counter the stories told elsewhere rather than get on with the actual story telling.

Kacungira’s statements caused quite a buzz both on and offline. Read snippets of the conversation captured by one of the participants, Louis Jadwong, below.



Grace Natabaalo

Grace Natabaalo is a programme assistant at the African Centre for Media Excellence.

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