The aim of this chapter is to highlight a number of significant logical flaws and empirical gaps within the existing literature concerned with Africa’s media image. I begin by drawing on the results of a comprehensive scoping review to show that, despite common assumptions, the existing evidence base in this area is insufficient for reaching firm conclusions about how Africa is represented in the US and UK news media. The irony is that a subject area focused on exposing taken-for-granted assumptions is in fact responsible for maintaining its own myth – that we know how Africa is represented in the news media. I further argue that this myth about the comprehensiveness of existing research has persisted for so long, in part, because of certain citation practices and patterns of interpretation within the literature. Finally, I suggest that repeatedly emphasising only the anticipated and problematic aspects of representations of Africa may, inadvertently, end up serving to reinforce the very same ideas that these studies often seek to challenge. If nothing else, generalised critiques about the apparent limitations of all news coverage of Africa can inhibit constructive dialogue with those responsible for producing such coverage.
|Title of host publication
|Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century
|Subtitle of host publication
|From the "Heart of Darkness" to "Africa Rising"
|Mel Bunce, Suzanne Franks, Chris Paterson
|Number of pages
|Published - Jul 2016