One-third of all the news stories used by the media in Africa come from foreign news services, and 63% of African media outlets do not have correspondents in other countries in Africa, recent research carried out by Africa No Filter – a nonprofit committed to shifting harmful narratives about Africa – revealed.
The research, which focuses on "How African Media Covers Africa," was carried out between September and October 2020. It analysed the media in 15 African countries, surveyed 60 editors and held focus groups with 25 international correspondents and editors. The research showed that while there is a lack of access to good stories from African countries that can be shared across the continent, most of the stories from foreign sources are negative, and such "negative" stories often inflict psychological and emotional pain on Africans.
Africa No Filter wanted to change that. Last July, the nonprofit launched Bird, Africa's first story agency designed to change harmful stereotypes and wrong narratives about Africa.
Moky Makura, Africa No Filter's Executive Director, said the story agency was set up to counter the negative stories often celebrated in foreign media.
"We identified a clear need for more human interest and feature style stories to counter the barrage of hard news - often negative - stories that are shaping how the world sees Africa and how Africa sees itself. Bird's mission is to create a home for these stories and make them accessible to media outlets," Makura said.
"This way, we have the potential to reach millions more with content that connects the continent and has the power to change perceptions. It's an incredibly exciting initiative and a potential game-changer for our mission."
The story agency operates like most global news agencies, but it produces and distributes multimedia stories for free to its media clients. It also offers paid work and training to support journalists across Africa. The story agency does this through the support of #AfricaNoFilter – a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors or RPA, a philanthropic nonprofit organisation.