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Report ranks 10 foreign news networks with flawed coverage of Africa

These news outlets lack depth, topical variety and diverse sourcing for their stories about Africa

A collage of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post
  • The Global Media Index for Africa assessed 20 prominent global media outlets on diversity of topics, sources, African countries covered, and depth of coverage
  • Bloomberg's coverage was heavily skewed towards economic and financial news, neglecting other aspects of African societies
  • The Washington Post ranked the lowest due to its limited diversity in topics and a heavy focus on negative themes

Despite efforts to improve the quality and diversity of coverage, of media coverage of Africa beyond the stereotypes of poverty and political conflict, several foreign news outlets still fall short.

The Global Media Index for Africa assessed 20 prominent global media outlets across four key indicators: diversity of topics, diversity of sources, diversity of African countries covered, and depth of coverage.

This article highlights the ten lowest-ranking media outlets in the Global Media Index for Africa 2024, emphasising areas where improvement is needed.

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With an index score of 55, the Chinese news outlet coverage often lacked diversity in topics, heavily focusing on political and economic issues.

There was a notable absence of stories highlighting cultural and social aspects of African life.

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Le Monde struggled with a narrow focus on specific regions and themes, often neglecting the broader diversity of the continent which saw it score 54.

The depth of coverage was also found wanting, with a tendency towards superficial reporting.

Bloomberg’s coverage was heavily skewed towards economic and financial news, neglecting other significant aspects of African societies.

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The lack of diverse sources also hindered a comprehensive portrayal of the continent.

While RFI provided balanced reporting in terms of depth, it fell short in the diversity of topics and voices.

The coverage often emphasised political instability and conflict, overshadowing positive stories.

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Russia Today’s coverage was criticised for its lack of diversity in sources and countries. The stories often relied on a limited range of perspectives, failing to capture the continent’s complexity.

Despite high scores in depth of coverage, The Economist’s portrayal of Africa remained narrow, focusing predominantly on economic issues with limited cultural and social insights.

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Just like Bloomberg and The Financial Times needs to improve its diversity of topics and sources to provide a more comprehensive view of Africa.

The current coverage is limited and often focuses on economic issues without broader context.

The New York Times showed some improvement but still fell short in offering a balanced view of Africa.

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The coverage was predominantly focused on conflict and political issues, with limited representation of positive stories.

Similar to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal's coverage was heavily skewed towards negative narratives, with insufficient attention to a diverse range of topics and sources.

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The Washington Post ranked the lowest, primarily due to its limited diversity in topics and a heavy focus on negative themes such as politics, poverty, and corruption. The coverage often lacked depth and a comprehensive representation of the continent.

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