US Media on Africa

A study on US media coverage of Africa released in January concluded that not only does Africa receive little attention, what little it does is marked by negative stereotypes. The report, by the Norman Lear Center of the University of Southern California, looked at print, television and social media.

Among its findings were that Europe received about seven times more references than Africa; out of 700,000 hours of television programming only 25 major scripted storylines were about Africa; only 13 per cent of entertainment storylines that mentioned Africa had an African character and most of the last were minor roles; negative depictions were twice as common as positive ones, and only eight per cent of African coverage was about business and economics.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of the references to Africa were about the continent as a whole rather than specific countries. The figure was 27 per cent for Twitter. Five countries – Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Congo and Seychelles – represented half of the country-specific coverage. If the fictional country of Wakanda, home of the superhero Black Panther, was included in the list it would rank as the fourth commonest African country mentioned.


March 28, 2019

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About the Author

Pramit Pal Chaudhury

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times, and Distinguished Fellow & Head, Strategic Affairs, Ananta Aspen Centre

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri writes on political, security, and economic issues. He previously wrote for the Statesman and the Telegraph in Calcutta. He served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Indian government from 2011-2015. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Asia Society Global Council, the Aspen Institute Italia, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the Mont Pelerin Society. Pramit is also a senior associate of Rhodium Group, New York City, advisor to the Bower Group Asia in India, a member of the Council on Emerging Markets, Washington, DC, and a delegate for the Confederation of Indian Industry-Aspen Strategy Group Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and the Ananta Aspen Strategic Dialogues with Japan, China and Israel. Born in 1964, he has visited over fifty countries on five continents. Mr. Pal Chaudhuri is a history graduate from Cornell University.