While addressing the 6th Annual Africa Media Leaders Conference yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Deputy President William Ruto revealed, to the amusement of his listeners, that press freedom in Africa is very confusing.
The Deputy President urged Africa media to â€˜tell its own story, beat its own drum, sing its own song and dance its own beatâ€™. . .whatever all these mean was left for the editors and media owners assembled in the city of the AU to decipher.
The theme of the conference, â€˜Press freedom and Freedom of Expressionâ€™, was, to Hon Ruto, a paradox of sorts as it contradicted the perception of Africa as created by the â€˜western mediaâ€™.
â€œAccording to the prevailing international narrative, it actually is hopelessly contradictory, or at least, thoroughly confusing,â€ said Ruto adding that the western press portrays African governments as authoritarian, dictatorial and repressive while ignoring the positive things happening in the continent.
â€œI am speaking about Africa owning its narrative. That is the one true gift Africa and AU can give to the people of this continent: the chance to have our voices heard. That is the Uhuru of our time. The true meaning of freedom,â€ Ruto told the conference.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Commission chair shared Rutoâ€™s sentiments, saying Africa was being portrayed as a continent ravaged with diseases, war and hunger.
â€œSurely there is something positive about Africa that should be told,â€ Zuma said.