BBC opens for debate about their Africa coverage with audience/readers on Twitter, writes Susanne Østhus.
In the upcoming Africa debate programme hosted by BBC, you get the chance to get your questions answered by Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service. The topic for discussion this time will be revolving around the news coverage of countries in Africa and whether media is getting it right. Everyone can ask questions and almost through every social media platform. The programme is aired 30 August and 1 September and the questions asked today will be the basis for the debate. Get on it and ask questions, ends at 1 am Australian time.
I have sent in a couple of questions myself: Does censorship in countries in Africa, such as Liberia, affect your news coverage? Which conflicts in Africa does mainstream media seem to “forget”?
To ask a question on Twitter, you use the hashtag #mybbcafrica at the end of your tweet. They also have a Facebook group, BBC Africa Page. Or you could do it by filling out this form on BBC’s site. Let the questions begin!
I sent in questions through every social media platform available, but was not lucky enough to get a reply. But I did get a retweet from BBC though.
I am a big advocate of using Twitter as a news source, because you are able to digest a lot of information in a short amount of time. Although, when using Twitter as a news medium it is important to be able to distinct verified information from rumors and hoaxes. Open debates such as this one by the BBC are great for a two way communication between media and the audience/readers. You can also be certain that the information tweeted by news organisations is in most cases verified.
All the questions answered by Peter Horrocks can be seen here. I have picked out three questions that I thought were particularly good.
Do you think Twitter is an improvement of media and audience/reader relationship or not? Please share your opinion in the comment section or tweet me at @SusanneTunge
A couple of weeks ago I curated a Twitter list with the intent to see if Twitter could be an alternative news channel. So far there has been both pro’s and con’s of using Twitter as a news source.
The Twitter list has been a good source of information about current news, political matters and social aspects of conflicts in Africa. This is mainly because of the variety on the list, with major news agencies, independent news agencies, politicians, foreign correspondents and humanitarian organisations. It has given me a deeper understanding of the conflicts in Africa and also how under-reported many of these conflicts are.
Although the list has given me many different viewpoints, it has also been hard to follow certain accounts. Africa Review, Invisible Children and Think Africa Press are the accounts that most frequently update their Twitter. Since the other accounts do not update as frequently, they do not often appear in the Twitter list’s news-feed.
Since the last post there has been some additions to the list. Accounts that resemble the ones I had already added came up as suggestions. There has been some great suggestions here, for instance Oliver Nduhungirehe. He works as Minister Counsellor and permanent Representative to the United Nations for Rwanda. In April it was Rwanda’s turn to resume presidency of UNSC and their topic for discussion last month was conflict prevention in Africa. By following Nduhungirehe I got a good overview almost day for day what issues were discussed.
Most of the additions to the Twitter list are related to Rwanda’s presidency in UNSC. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda” (MINAFFET Rwanda) and “Mission of Rwanda UN” were tweeting updates on the debate in UNSC during the whole of April. The last addition to the Twitter list is news organisation “Daily Nation” from Kenya.
There are currently no followers of the Twitter list, I believe that it is because I have not promoted it enough. I wanted to see for myself first whether it could work as good source of information. I must say it has proven to be a very effective way to consume a lot of information in a short amount of time, but I would love to get your take on Twitter as a news medium on the poll I set up.
If you wish to follow my list on conflicts in Africa, click here