African Business: simply the best; A ceremony in July recognising quality coverage of the business environment in Africa saw New African's sister magazine, African Business, scoop two of the top prizes. Tom Okello reports.Although coverage of Africa in the Western media is often skewered towards negative and stereotypical images of poverty, famine famine
Extreme and protracted shortage of food, resulting in widespread hunger and a substantial increase in the death rate. General famines affect all classes or groups in the region of food shortage; class famines affect some classes or groups much more severely than , war and Aids, there is a whole plethora plethora /pleth·o·ra/ (pleth´ah-rah)
1. an excess of blood.
2. by extension, a red florid complexion.pletho´ric
1. of other news and business-related stories that never make it past Western news editors.
It was with this in mind that Diageo, the brewing brewing: see beer. and distilling company that operates throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, established its Africa Business Reporting Awards in 2004. At this year's ceremony held at London's Guildhall in early July, African Business, our sister magazine, claimed two of the awards. Anver Versi, the magazine's editor, was voted "best journalist of the year" and the magazine "best publication of the year".
Speaking after accepting the awards, Versi told New African New African is an English-language monthly news magazine based in London. Published since 1966, it is read by many people across the African continent and the African diaspora. : "These are fantastic awards and justify the stance of our magazine. We have always been rowing upstream and it is great after all this time that eventually somebody has recognised this."
Established in 1966, African Business has provided innovative coverage in the form of analyses, facts, comments, statistics and information from across the continent. It is now one of the most highly-regarded publications on African business and economic issues.
"Hopefully this will encourage other people to do the same thing and will be the sea-change we are hoping for," said Versi. "Business reporting in Africa has followed the same centuries-old pattern in that people go with prejudged perceptions and stereo-types of what Africa should be. If you look for stories, you will find them anywhere."
The idea for the awards was first conceived in 2003 when Diageo, along with a group of journalists and other business partners, was discussing how it could stimulate economic and social growth on the continent. It then noted that coverage of Africa in the Western media was not particularly positive.
Nick Blazquez, managing director of Diageo Africa, says it was then the company decided on the awards to encourage balanced reporting of Africa from a business perspective, thereby persuading investors to look at the continent.
Speaking at the 2005 awards ceremony, Blazquez said in the majority of instances, the messages coming out of Africa were predominantly pre·dom·i·nant
1. Having greatest ascendancy, importance, influence, authority, or force. See Synonyms at dominant.
2. pessimistic pes·si·mism
1. A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view: "We have seen too much defeatism, too much pessimism, too much of a negative approach" . "The overall image of Africa is not a great one but if you change the image and people's perceptions, then actualities become different," he said. "If these were to happen, then investors will change their behaviour and a virtuous spiral can be created as opposed to the current negative one."
Blazquez added: "The reality is yes, there are challenges, absolutely; but there are also opportunities. It would be disingenuous dis·in·gen·u·ous
1. Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating: "an ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, who ... exemplified ... to suggest that doing business in Africa is well-ordered, structured and predictable. It isn't, it is less predictable than in the West."
Other awards on the night included "best published feature" won by Issac Umunna of Africa Today, and "best television feature" which went to the BBCs Grant Ferrett and Caroline Pare. "Best website" was given to Business in Africa.
The publications, journalists and features selected were those that did not paint an overly negative or rosy ros·y
adj. ros·i·er, ros·i·est
a. Having the characteristic pink or red color of a rose.
b. Flushed with a healthy glow: rosy cheeks.
2. viewpoint on the reality of doing business in Africa, but rather a fair and impartial Favoring neither; disinterested; treating all alike; unbiased; equitable, fair, and just. perspective.
Blazquez said the judges chose both African Business and Versi for their engaging, balanced and broad coverage and that the publication was extremely accessible, and it also covers a wide variety of sectors, making it a well-rounded and objective journal.
Addressing the important role the media has to play in Africa's development, Versi said change would be driven largely by the media. "In Africa we have tended to look down on the media and try to censure A formal, public reprimand for an infraction or violation.
From time to time deliberative bodies are forced to take action against members whose actions or behavior runs counter to the group's acceptable standards for individual behavior. In the U.S. it, kill it or control it. You cannot do this, the media are the people's voice," he said.
The challenge now, he continued, was to put the media in its rightful place in the make-up Make-up
The amount of deficiency when a cash flow or capital item is deficient. For example, an interest make-up relates to the interest amount above a ceiling percentage. of society. "It is a very important arbiter, a bridge between people and governments; we have to make the media more powerful and more secure in terms of incomes. It has to be more attractive to the bright, young people entering the job markets in Africa."