How The Media Portrays Congo

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Congo

By Natalie Bush

In class this past week, we discussed the various angles in regards to how countries are portrayed in the news. For example, in the United States media could portray one conflict in a certain way while a country in Asia could view the conflict completely different. With the tremendous technology revolution, news is now available to anyone with Internet connection. However, with any great advancement, there are setbacks. Some view the amount of power the media has to portray a conflict, a tragedy, or a war as dangerous. With little knowledge of Congo prior to the start of class, I am now questioning the research and articles I have read. What is skewed and what is accurate? While I may understand poverty to be one thing, is it viewed differently on the other side of the world?

In an attempt to settle my questions, I turned to the United Nations News Centre website. Here, I read about Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon’s mission and vision for Africa at the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. In his address he said the UN Stabilization Mission in the country (MONUSCO) is doing everything it can to protect civilians, and he personally encouraged regional leaders to endorse a peace, security and cooperation framework to address the causes of violence in the country. “I see Africa on the rise. I welcome great progress on development, good governance and human rights,” Mr. Ban stated. These reassuring words put Africa, including the DRC in a brighter, more positive light.

On the other hand, the New York Times- Africa page does not use such terms. Instead, the headlines focus on the violence, corruption and poverty found throughout the continent. This dramatic difference between Mr. Ban’s perception of Africa and the way it is reported in America is a prime example of the way the media skews their articles by using their home country as a basis. This is also known as ethnocentrism, where one judges another culture off of the values of his or her own.

While staying up-to-date on current events across the globe is supremely beneficial, it is even more important to read various points of view in an attempt to eliminate our own filters. By doing so, the perspective we form will be unbiased leading us to better, more balanced understanding.

Take a look for yourself and compare the headlines:

New York Times

United Nations News Centre



Source 1, Source 2


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