Aïssatou Fofana

Ivorian media entrepreneur, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online platform L’écologiste

How did the fellowship motivate you?

The fellowship allowed me to acquire new skills and improve my reporting – especially in the context of mobile journalism. I also had the chance to report on major events like the Global Media Forum and the UN Climate Change Conference.

I got to know African colleagues and worked with them on transnational projects. And I learned a lot more about the African Union and its work.

What do you think needs to change about reporting on Africa?

Most of the media coverage of Africa focuses on military coups, conflicts, wars, and inadequate drinking water and electricity supply. But these are not problems unique to Africa. They can be found practically everywhere in the world.

‘We need a paradigm shift if we are to achieve better reporting on Africa’

Reporting should not be limited to what is wrong in Africa and what doesn’t work there. Africa is a continent of 54 countries with rich and diverse cultures and traditions, flora and fauna. We need a genuine paradigm shift if we are to achieve better reporting on Africa.

Where can European media learn from their African colleagues?

I would recommend more cooperation. One and the same story will be told quite differently by a local media outlet or an African journalist than by Western media. The difference is in the context, the understanding of customs and traditions, and often also the language. This is why it is sometimes difficult to identify with a story told from the point of view of international media. They should cooperate more with local media to bridge this gap in the presentation of African realities.