NWIO And African Newspapers
Western media has been in dominance of global information structure with news agencies from industrialized countries. Principal suppliers including Reuters, Agence FrancePresse, United Press International and Associated Press are the primary sources of international news. They are the renowned news agencies that process and disseminate about 80 percent of world news. In fact, the developing countries have become very dependent on information flow that originates from industrialized nations.
Nevertheless, the news are selective and largely ethnocentric for the interest of the West. The focus is often concentrated on negative news instead of development and success within the region. With respect to the lack of participation in global information network, New World Information and Communication Order (NWIO) was suggested as a medium for less developed countries to seek an equal stand in information flow. The proposal was also a channel for the local media agencies to take the initiative in developing domestic communication policies for a more accurate reflection of their countries within international domains.
The demand from developing countries was brought up in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) assembly during late 1970. NWIO received cold reception from the West as the control over the information network will be weaken with the emergence of comprehensive media system in Third World.
In heated discussion of NWIO and African press, the press in Third World, apart from West media, should also be responsible for negative depiction of the countries in international news. The statement was proven true through the case study using Nigerian newspapers. In the discussion, the author clearly showed that about 84 percent of total major headline or news had been on negative directional focus after the detailed analysis of two Nigerian daily newspapers (The Nation and The Punch).
After decades of stillbirth of NWIO, Third World countries especially Africa remains being misinterpreted by Western media. Despite the advancement of information processing today with the information technology (IT), the absence of appropriate policies to ensure the authenticity of electronic information as well as low affordability among residents prove that African newspapers still play an important role in providing news of the nations’ interest. Although NWIO is put on unknown hiatus, the concept of self-determination of domestic communication policies through governmental control in African countries is to be practiced to depict their countries through a fair and unbiased lens that are free from capitalism from West.
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