Report by Ajibola Abayomi
A Dortmund, German based Migration advocate, Veye Tatah has urged the media to tell the authentic story of Africa so as to disabuse the minds of the youths from fleeing the continent as irregular migrants.
Veye gave her words as guest speaker on Saturday during a virtual international migration summit titled Migration: Remedies for Covid-19 and The Economy organised by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM).
JIFORM is a foundation comprising of over 200 journalists spreading beyond Africa across the continents championing advocacy against irregular and human trafficking.
President of JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi, was full of praise for the migrant counselor whom she described as one of the pathfinders for JIFORM after an encounter with her and other international media trainers in Nigeria in 2018.
That interaction gave birth to the formation of JIFORM by Ajibola who encouraged fellow media practitioners on the continent of Africa and beyond to join the crusade against irregular migration afterward.
Delivering a lecture titled: Migration: Telling The Africa Story, Tatah said migration journalists needed to tell the African stories with their skills and discouraged irregular migration from the continent to other parts of the globe largely because of gory picture that had been painted that Africa was a grave yard with where under development flourished and successes abound especially in Europe and America.
Why is it important for us Africans to tell our “own” stories? Why do we expect the west and others to tell positive and inspiring stories about us, when we cannot do so? Why do many media outlets in Africa keep on buying News from the Western New Agencies? How come Africans do not report about their Neighbouring countries but we know everything that is going on in Europe and in America.
“The answer to these questions is because we are still colonized in our societies and in our mindset. We believe in order to tell the African story authentically, we need to decolonise our mind-sets, our societies and more importantly our media.
“The African continent is very rich and truly offers a lot of hidden opportunities that are not always obvious to young Africans. Their focus is the West they see glamorized in the media. They are also led to buy into the age-old notion that nothing good comes out of Africa.
“That is why we need authentic African voices to tell the African stories as well as to promote African products, Initiatives and life styles to the world and within the African continent.”
She added that: “Global media predominantly highlight the negatives about the African continent and its people. In 1998 the Africa Positive Magazine began telling the African story to the European public to promote balanced reporting. But we soon realised that we also needed to tell the African story to the African people.
“Because, generally Western countries are mostly portrayed glamorously and in a positive light by our own media outlets. The youths in Africa consuming this one sided information believe everything and are ready to risk their lives for perceived greener pastures abroad.
“Media reports in 2017 that showed black #Africans being sold as #slaves in #Libya and so many young Africans dying in the #Mediterranean sea touched us deeply and motivated us to look for ways to tell the African stories to Africans.
“In 2018 we launched “The Ubuntu Animation Series” to tell the African story to the African people and more particularly to the Youths.”