Imran Garda identifies nine signs of trash journalism on Africa:
You may already have accepted that those images of swollen potbellies underneath protruding ribs, those sticky flies sitting on the starving child’s eyebrows and lips, those panoramic views of refugee camps are not the be-all and end-all of Africa. Or those unclear references to Africa which suggest it’s a monolith, or even worse, a country. You may have accepted that all these, some of which are not inaccurate in some places, don’t provide the full picture. A picture which, if it were genuine, would reflect a continent of diverse peoples and ideas, varied standards of living (including horrendous poverty and unbelievable inequality) yet infinite potential, a picture of an eclectic mix of things good and bad.
Besides flies, potbellies and continental monoliths, here are some other telltale signs of simplistic and often pathetic attempts to cover Africa. If more than one of these apply to your print, online or broadcast journalism source, you’re probably not getting your information from the most reliable place.