Covering Ebola: A comparative analysis of CCTV Africa’s Talk Africa and Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionin Journal of African Cultural Studies vol. 29 no. 1 pp. 114-130 10.1080/13696815.2016.1188687
This article presents a comparative analysis of how Chinese Central Television (CCTV ) Africa and Al Jazeera English’s current affairs talk shows, both in English, have covered the 2014-2015 West Africa Ebola outbreak from March 2014. The purpose of this study is to broaden the knowledge on the presence of the two international broadcasters that are emblematic of the so-called “media of the South”, through comparing them. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis, this research project finds that Talk Africa ( CCTV ) seems to have adopted a stabilizing role towards a panicking audience during the Ebola crisis, through reassuring the audience, pitting development against disease, providing the example of successful interventions in Nigeria, and showing the direction to a brighter future. The Inside Story ( Al Jazeera ) episodes are structured in a way that is more problem-centred, as most of the scrutinizing questions and discussions are organized around the problems such as the lack of trust from local people, shortage of trained medical personnel and the social cost of the deadly epidemic, leading to straightforward technical explanations and factual or individual observations, leaving the journalists little room to mold any ideological opposition. With Inside Story, there is a problematic under-representation of the African voice in the studio, suggesting a source hierarchy that may jeopardize its self-claimed role as being the voice of the South.