The New York-based The Africa Center has partnered with Africa No Filter, Media Monitoring Africa and the University of Cape Town (UCT) to develop the Global Media Index. The Media Index will track and measure the way Africa is covered by top global media outlets by analyzing how 20 leading global media platforms tell Africa’s stories, the voices are being heard, and how they are covered.

The Global Media Index is the latest project funded jointly by Africa No Filter and The Africa Center focused on media narratives of Africa. The research will be led by Herman Wasserman, Professor in Media Studies at UCT’s Centre for Film and Media Studies, Associate Professors Tanja Bosch and Wallace Chuma and Dr. Meli Ncube, in collaboration with William Bird from Media Monitoring Africa.

The project will use a range of methods including content analysis, institutional analysis and interviews with journalists working for global media outlets. The aim is to establish the dominant themes, narratives and journalistic practices shaping the image of Africa. Global media reports are often criticized for viewing the continent through the lenses of disease, poverty, conflict, corruption, and poor leadership.

Commenting on the planned project, Moky Makura, Executive Director of Africa No Filter said, “Very few institutions are as powerful as the global news media. As storytellers to millions of audiences, the news media set agendas for policy-making, frame political debate and shape global public perceptions. The Global Media Index is part of our watchdog role and is designed to show what’s right rather than wrong with reporting on Africa.”

Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center, called the Index necessary and timely. “If we are going to change narratives about the continent and its Diaspora so that they are more representative and reflective, we must have a baseline understanding of what those narratives are and where they reside. This Index is a step in the right direction. It will help to create a new qualitative and quantitative approach to understanding how journalists report on Africa and its people in addition to where the messages they share are most resonant in the international media landscape,” he said.