Monday, January 14, 2008

Representation and Auntie

BBC World's coverage of the Nigerian government's challenge to the tobacco companies this evening began with what appeared to be random archive footage of the Delta: gas flares, muddy patches of ground with kids in shorts wandering about, an old woman's saggy breasts stuck in there for good measure for half a second. As the vo developed the story, only then did we see images of Abuja (a modern-looking city), where the story (ie the court case) is actually taking place.

One day, perhaps, we might see a story about, say, a dispute at the High Court in Aldwych, central London, begin with images of some run down estate in Salford or Glasgow (packets of glue, a used syringe, a scowl of hoodies against brick and graffiti..), or perhaps some hopelessly decimated mining community up north, or perhaps again an ancient oil spill of the Scottish coast (if ever there was). Why not show some birds mired in oil, struggling to flap their wings, then falling over, Amoco Cadiz style? There's pretty much the same level of relevance between the two examples.

Yet again, the BBC is complicit in reproducing stereotypical images of Africa which feed the subconscious western fantasy of there being truly pathetic people somewhere south of the Sahara who must always be helped. Yet again, the hideously white bunch from White City (how appropriate) do their bit to re-hash and re-circulate racist cliches with the same old lazy-ass excuse for journalism.


Moni 12:27 am  

That's a great example of their journalistic style (british mining town, etc)... I'd love to see this kind of thing on video :)

Anonymous,  5:13 am  

my sentiments exactly!!!

are u sure ur not nigerian? its very unenglish of u to observe that.

ijebuman 12:16 pm  

How would their 'viewers' know it's Africa if they didn't show "muddy patches of ground with kids in shorts wandering about…"

God forbid they show Abuja or the Lagos skyline, that might put viewers off and destroy their 'western superiority complex'

Anonymous,  2:22 pm  

I have the same feelings about the BBC panorama programme of 14/01/08.
(Watch it on BBC iplayer if you can).

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