CNN Rewards African Journalists as the Continent Media Owners Slumbers

At the 50th anniversary celebrations by Nation Media Group, African journalists and media moguls were calling on the continents media to start telling the story of Africa. It is an irony where the call was coming from. You will easily get African media trust Reuters, Xinhua, AP, BBC, CNN, AFP and other foreign media outlets and agencies more than Africa’s own. Even in Kenya you will get Nation, The Star or The Standard pick up a story about Orange Kenya which happened locally from China’s Xinhua and Reuters while ignoring the many freelance journalists submissions.

CNN has been holding Africa Journalist of the year award for the last 16 years to encourage excellence in journalism in Africa. The same CNN and other foreign media outlets and agencies have been accused of focusing on the negative news from Africa while ignoring the positive news from the same.

It is the same African media outlets which have failed to innovate and encourage local productions and so when the night falls, some of the outlets run CNN programming for even up-to 8 hours non stop. The media outlets does so because first they have not invested in modern studios and also the lack of quality programs to keep the local viewers entertained. So they will run the DSTV relayed channels when night falls and their media personnel needs to take a break.

Judges at CNN Award

I am happy that someone recognised the hardworking African journalists who is rarely even rewarded by their own employers. You will get journos cover riots with no protective gear at all. They will be at the mercy of demonstrators and the police and whenever they cover corporate functions, it is left to the same corporates to look after the scribes and this distorts the objectivity of the same.

Kenya’s own Fatuma Noor from The Star emerged the overall winner with Citizens Sylvia Chebet and Kimani Githae, K24’s Beryl Ooro and Nation’s Kamau Mutunga being some other notable winners from Kenya. The full list of winners can be viewed here. What are the Kenyan and greater African media owners doing apart from putting the countries in permanent election moods? How are they working to improve the working condition of the journalists and rewarding hard work? Did we not see the award winning John Allan Namu change stations because of the employer not being able to fully reward his work?

We don’t have to rely on CNN to reward African journalists while we Africans have not recognised the same locally. And just yesterday some journalists flew out for the Diageo African Business Reporting Awards. Why oohh why? The efforts by the CNN and Diageo are appreciated but it is sickening to see that none of the African media institutions have organised a serious award to recognise quality journalism.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (

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