The CNN Backlash & The Danger of a Single Story



After peaceful and successful elections, I woke up on a bright Sunday morning to the #CNNGetItRight hashtag. Like many Ghanaians, I have been worried about the way some international media organizations always portray Africa in a negative manner; some even go to the extent of telling stories that are untrue. The article on the CNN website claimed that Ghanaians had elections in 1998 (which is false).

The report also stated that : “Ghanaians are struggling to obtain food and day-to-day services. Rolling blackouts are common and citizens often stand in long line (correct expression being long queues) to obtain products”.  These words attempted to paint a mental picture of famine and hunger to the rest of the world especially to those who never have the chance of experiencing the good things in Africa. Today, the tales of the hunter are over and the lions have decided to tell the tales of hunting because we have our own historians (figurative).

There are a number of things wrong with the CNN article hence the reason why Ghanaians must not stay silent :

1.The CNN reporters who wrote this particular article were in Nigeria and Atlanta hence they were not reporting from Ghana at the time they were writing.

2.Ghana holds elections every 4 years and there is no way we could have conducted presidential elections in 1998.

3.There was little or no research done about our country (Ghana) before reporting hence the huge number of mistakes in the report which has now been edited

4.The desire to report on the negatives of Africa. Growing up, CNN has been one of the major news networks in the world (there is no doubt about that). However, I have noticed an unpleasant trend – the network is usually one of the first (if not the first) to report news concerning Africa especially when it is negative. They reported the May 9th football disaster as well as the June Flood and Fire Disaster which occurred in Accra. There were a number of things CNN could have reported on concerning Ghana’s 2016 election – conduction of a peaceful election, Ghana’s infrastructure and so on. Yet they chose to focus on irrelevant information most of which were invalid.

Dear Friends, this is a clear misrepresentation of Ghana and Africa at large. We must rise up and condemn such negative reportage. People in Africa do not live on trees, neither are we in a state of perpetual poverty and hunger. We live just like any other country does. Africa is not a place of disease and good things come from Africa too. If we do not correct some of these negative perceptions, people begin to believe and associate them with us. In the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,a Nigerian novelist, “That is the danger of a single story”.

By : Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane


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