number 6, december 10, 1998

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CNN world news coverage ‘mile wide, half-inch thick’

By Philip Jenks

The president of CNN International yesterday accepted the criticism that his network "is a mile wide and a half-inch deep" in its international news coverage

He earlier said his network tries to cover the world as broadly and accurately as possible, but a Kenyan woman said the only time Africa makes news is when it’s bad news.

"Internationally, when you watch television you have to wait for something really horrible to happen before you know Africa exists," Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, a panelist in a Padare discussion sponsored by the World Association of Christian Communication (WACC), said yesterday.

Kanyoro, general secretary of the World YWCA in Geneva, recalled the years she lived in the United States and watched coverage of Africa on US television. "I didn’t know that the continent being discussed was my own," she said. "Events were always portrayed out of context."

International media coverage even threatened plans for the current assembly, she said, "because Africa is portrayed as very, very violent".

Nearly 200 people trekked across the campus of the University of Zimbabwe to find the WACC Padare offering in the Science Lecture Theatre.

One of the attractions was a high-ranking CNN official, Chris Cramer, a former BBC newsman who said he was hired by CCN boss Ted Turner to make the network more international in scope.

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Read other articles in this issue:

Capoeira, their way to move around campus
Children say it's time for action &
World's most dynamic schoolboy?
Children issue some challenges
CNN world news coverage ‘mile wide, half-inch thick’
Young speak of dignity
God of many names
Street kids have their own plot
An advent night in Africa

8th Assembly and 50th Anniversary

copyright 1998 World Council of Churches. Remarks to webeditor