Nigeria’s political elite has not been the same following the launch of the online news website, Sahara Reporters, in 2006. The website, founded by this Nigerian journalist/activist, has spent the last six years exposing some of the more sordid tales of corruption and bad-governance endemic in Africa’s largest country. With over 5,000 articles published since its formation, Sahara Reporters is one of the few media organisations willing to take on Nigeria’s dirty little secrets head-on and has unsettled some of the country’s sacred cows unused to such “effrontery”.
“Now that we have, so to speak, democracy, you would expect the Nigerian media to be more vibrant, but the opposite is the case.”
Amadou Ba is co-founder and chairman of the online news portal, AllAfrica.com The Senegalese entrepreneur is also chief executive of the African Media Initiative, whose lofty goals include the empowerment of “media owners and practitioners with the tools they need to play an effective role in their societies”. This young organisation is becoming much sought-after in the corridors of power across the continent with Amadou increasingly becoming the go-to-guy for media policies.
“Politics must never be a choice between two ills. That is why we work to improve the media, governance and business environments.”
In 1985 Koos Bekker, already a leading figure within Africa’s publishing industry, persuaded his colleagues at Naspers to explore the viability of subscription TV on the continent. Within 12 months M-Net was broadcasting to 500 households. By 2011, M-Net had turned into Africa’s largest digital satellite TV service and had 3.7m subscribers receiving over 98 channels in South Africa alone. Koors has been instrumental in turning Naspers into a fully integrated $22bn media empire and is without question Africa’s biggest media mogul.
“We’ve made more mistakes than anyone else. The benefit of a mistake is that you know what doesn’t work.”
Son of the world-renowned Kenyan photojournalist, Mo Amin, Salim has turned his father’s small studio in Tanzania into a multi-faceted media and production company. With an image bank of over four million pictures, and over 8,000 hours of video footage, Camerapix has archived some of Africa’s most historic and visually stunning moments. He has helped Chinese state television shape Africa’s perception. Amongst other ventures, Salim is the founder of a television and film college based in Nairobi, aiming to “raise the standards of communication on the African continent”.
“The more people talk about their incidences, the better – for any society. The problem is whether those reporting are accurate or not."