Saturday, February 17, 2007

CNN "International Correspondents" features Nigerian author and columnist Uche Nworah

Feb. 19th update to the original post below:

I woke up early on Sunday morning, February 18th, just to see the International Correspondents episode referenced in my post below. Uche Nworah and I have already had an "off the blog" communication about his experience on the program and I really appreciate that privelage.

As I have expressed to Uche in a message today, unfortunately the CNN anchor Becky Anderson and the senior Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange chose to defend CNN's position in the Government of Nigeria vs. CNN row instead of addressing the much more important issues of biased reporting in the international news media and press toward sub-Saharan African governments and people.

Uche's appearance on the program was approximately 8-10 minutes long before Becky Anderson quickly moved on to the next subject (freedom of the press in Hong Kong & China). Time is money you know, especially in the cable and broadcast TV industry. Perhaps the program's regular host, Fionnuala Sweeney, would have given the poor guy more time to present his views? Nah, I doubt it.

Word on the street is that the Government of Nigeria has cancelled the multi-million dollar "Heart of Africa" advertising contract with CNN as a result of the row over the Niger Delta report. CNN's parent company, Time Warner Inc., is not gonna like that news, not at all.

Please note that I've also made corrections to the spelling of Uche's last name in the post below. That's Uche Nworah, N-W-O-R-A-H. Thank's Imnakoya for the tip-off about my error in the original post.

Original text from Feb. 17th:

Some of you may remember my January 2007 post about “nation branding in sub-Saharan Africa” where I wrote about our fellow blogger Emeka Okafor of Africa Unchained & Timbuktu Chronicles appearing on CNN Inside Africa. Well today I received this really nice message from Uche Nworah (profile), author of the book The Long Harmattan Season and well-known online journalist, writer and critic. Uche authored the November 2006 report on the Nigeria – The Heart of Africa advertising campaign titled “Re-branding Nigeria: Critical Perspectives on the Heart of Africa Image Project”. I quoted from this report toward the end of my post about nation branding and you should also read his April 2005 post Nigeria As A Brand over at the Nigerian Village Square.

CNN International Correspondents, “a program that brings together some of the worlds leading journalists, editiors, media figures to discuss the top stories and critique the current media landscape” will be featuring a discussion between Uche Nworah, Jeff Koinange, and Becky Anderson about international media coverage of Africa. You can check the program schedule for your local area at the CNN International Correspondents website. The program has already aired in Europe today but repeats tomorrow morning, February 18, at 07:30 CET. Readers in North America still have time to catch the Saturday airing of International Correspondents starting at 11:00 EST. If you miss the show this weekend you can read the transcript over at the CNN website after it has been transcribed and published (takes forever).

Uche has published a post about his appearance on International Correspondents at the Nigerian Village titled “What Will You Do or Say”. I also recommend Uche’s article re: biased mainstream media coverage of stories and news about Africa titled “Global Media Coverage and Michael Peel’s Africa”.

Who’s Michael Peel?

Answer: Peel is a Financial Times (U.K.) legal correspondent and former associate fellow at Catham House (U.K.) Africa Programme who recently slammed the government of the Republic of Nigeria and the U.K. with a scathing report titled “Nigeria Related Financial Crime and its Links with Britain” (Nov. 2006). Here is the Chatham House transcript and audio archive re: a meeting and Q&A session featuring Michael Peel, Dr. Titilola Banjoka (Chairwoman - Africa Recruit), and Babajide Ogundipe (a partner in the Nigerian law firm Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore).

Since this is a Heads Up post for my readers and fellow blog authors I’ll leave it at that for today. Checkout International Correspondents this weekend and see if Uche can “rein-in Becky Anderson” and take control of the interview. Should be a very interesting half-hour show.

Ciao. I’m off to Florence in search of Alessandro dé Medici, the Black Prince.

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imnakoya said...

No one like would be happy seeing his or her dirty linen washed in public. That is the position of the Nigerian information minister, but I must confess, he did a lousy job making his case. In fact, the manner he went about the CNN report exonerates Jeff and the news agency. There was no bias in the presentation as far as I’m concerned: the team had a story line and went for it. Yeah, may be Jeff got tricked into speaking with the wrong guy and group, but what he uncovered or discovered is real and shows the extent of lawlessness in the Niger Delta. I wished the report had initiated some meaningful discussion beyond what the motive of CNN was and unbiased reporting.

As I mentioned on Grandiose Parlor- Nigeria: The Niger-Delta Scam. The insurgency in the Niger-delta can’t continue without some catastrophic repercussion to the Nigerian nation, and this begets some questions, some I’ve already raised on my blog, here is an excerpt:

“The oil-producing states, which are mainly located in the Niger-delta region, ‘earn’ more federal allocations (monthly disbursement given by the federal government to the states) than any other state. Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states - regions where the militia are heavily concentrated - receive the most from the federal account i.e. the most money per population. However, there are huge disparities in the quality and quantity of infrastructures built and social amenities/programs implemented by these state governments. Where has the money gone? This is the question I wish the militia could ask those they’ve elected as their leaders.”

Who funds and runs these militants? How much ransom has been paid? Who paid the ransom money? Why are the state governors and local legislators in these areas silent and not speaking up against these militants/violence? Are they in any way connected to the violence in the Niger-Delta? You can bet your last dime on this BRE, they are!

Black River Eagle said...

It looks as if what you are saying Imnakoya is dead right and that is sad, very sad indeed. The Associated Press just ran a story yesterday titled "Nigerian Elections May Spur Kidnappings" where it describes the lawlessness and total disregard for democratic elections taking place in Nigeria's oil-rich states.

The people of Nigeria deserve better, much better after having to wait so long to get even this far after independence from colonialism. Perhaps the answer is to stop the elections until the candidates and their "supporters" can demonstrate to the people of Nigeria that they can carry out a transparent, democratic election process.

BTW: has a story on the Image of Nigeria in Western Media but unfortunately their website is having problems. If you have the time please follow-up on that story and let me know what you think.