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Africa News in Brief

Africa News in Brief (9/24/13)

By Africa News in Brief, News & Current Affairs


Sep. 24 (GIN) – The shocking terror assault at a popular shopping center in Nairobi sent shivers around the world as global news media supplied minute to minute coverage of the deadly event.

Some 68 people were killed and 170 injured in the attack by alleged Somali Al-Shabab insurgents who, for four days, held hostages in a siege at the upscale store.

News photographers at the scene snapped graphic images of frantic store visitors but also victims who lay bleeding and possibly dying. Horrific pictures, on page one of a New York daily and in several papers in Africa, soon sparked a fierce online debate.

“How much blood is too much?” asked columnist Richard Prince in his column Journal-isms. In a piece titled “Race Factor Raised in Graphic Images from Kenya,” he quoted Michael Deibert, a white journalist, who observed: “Quite honestly… I was shocked and dismayed by this… Would the New York Times run photos of blood-soaked dead white Americans after one of the many mass shootings that occur in the United States? I doubt it.”

Senior faculty member Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute told Prince: “There continues to be an apparent double standard which I refer to as the ‘exotic rule’. The farther away and the browner the faces, the less sensitive I find the ethical rigor. For instance, I could not find a body in the Navy Yard or Boston Marathon shootings.”

NY Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan defended the occasional use of sickening pictures such as those recently published from Syria. “Images of war matter,” she wrote, citing such iconic shots as the brutal execution of a Vietcong guerrilla, a naked Vietnamese girl burned by napalm and the charred corpses of American contractors hanging from a bridge in Falluja, Iraq.

Photo editor Michele McNally added: “I think our audience is very sophisticated. They don’t want us to pull our punches.”

Meanwhile, back in Kenya, a front page picture of a blood-spattered woman shrieking in agony sparked a torrent of furious complaints. It prompted Nation Media Group CEO Linus Gitahi to issue an apology. “Kenyans, we made a poor judgment on our front page photo today. We sincerely apologize for the hurt caused.” The apology was forwarded on Twitter 1,192 times.

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Africa News in Brief (9/18/13)

By Africa News in Brief, News & Current Affairs


Sep. 17 (GIN) – A Roman Catholic nun who rides a bicycle deep into the bush in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo to help female victims of war is to receive a top UN award for her courageous work.

Sister Angelique Namaika is a familiar site, pedaling down dirt roads to visit the women and to run a center she called Maman Bongissa in the village of Dungu. The center trains displaced women and girls in basic income-generating activities they could use to improve their lives.

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Africa News in Brief from Global Information Network (9/4/13)

By Africa News in Brief, News & Current Affairs


Sep. 3 (GIN) – A Chinese oil giant with several polluting investments throughout Africa has been targeted in a sweeping anti-corruption drive in China. Four senior managers have already been detained in the investigation.

Wang Youngchun, vice president of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), is being questioned by Beijing for “gross violations of party discipline,” a standard euphemism for corruption.

Three other CNPC executives were named the next day and resigned from their posts for “personal reasons.” The four men are said to be facing questions about the award of oil exploration projects.

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News from Africa

By Africa News in Brief, News & Current Affairs


Aug. 13 (GIN) – Local officials in Lagos, Nigeria, who accepted a $200 million loan from the World Bank to “increase sustainable access to basic urban services,” are instead creating an unaffordable complex of 1,000 luxury units on the grounds where poor and working people recently lived.

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