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Africa Day: a new report by AMREF. Di Maio renews importance of partnership

ROME, MAY 25 – On the occasion of World Africa Day, the Italian Ngo Amref Health Africa-Italia presented the second edition of ‘L’Africa MEDIAta’, a report edited by the Pavia Observatory. The document analyzes how Africa is represented in the media and how it is perceived by young people, over a period of time ranging from the end of 2019 to the early months of 2021. Media partners for the Amref initiative in occasion of the World Africa Day are: Rai Ragazzi, Rai Radio Kids and Rainews24.

Among the effects of the COVID-19 health emergency and its dramatic consequences is the gradual disappearance of African themes, events and countries from the media throughout the 2020s. The 2021 Report, available at www.amref.it, records a drastic decrease in the overall media attention given to Africa in 2020 -in the press, news and information programs- due, above all, to the restructuring of agendas as a result of the pandemic.

In order to understand how children and young people between the ages of 10 and 14 perceive the Africa proposed by the media, between March and April 2021, 8 focus groups were conducted in 5 schools (primary and secondary) in Rome, Milan and Pavia, for a total of 182 students. The imagery of young people that emerged during the focus groups seems to confirm the role of the media as agencies of socialization. Young people show themselves to be very capable of perceiving dynamics of racism and discrimination in the products they watch. They complain about shortcomings in terms of normality and everyday life. “I would like to know how kids my age go to school in some African countries”, states one of them. There is also a strong curiosity about “our Africa”, that is, the story of how Africans live in Italy and the direct testimony of people who have experienced migration. On the occasion of World Africa Day, Amref also launched the third episode of the podcast ‘Io sono una voce’ (I am a voice), dedicated to the daily challenges, projects and goals of African women.

“The media, schools, civil society and humanitarian organizations have a responsibility so that the words most associated with it are not exclusively poverty, scarcity, war and terrorism,” said Guglielmo Micucci, Director of Amref Health Africa-Italy. “We can do this through knowledge and study. We can do this by responding to the requests brought forward by young people in the focus groups, who know too much about Africa’s negative aspects and too little about normal things like schools, free time and technology. We can do this simply by looking around us in our classrooms, in which students of different origins and backgrounds grow up together in serenity. We can do this through the media and the production of content that draws on that richness”.

Guglielmo Micucci

To mark the anniversary of the birth of the Organization of African Unity, founded on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa and becoming, since 2002, the African Union, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation celebrated “Africa Day” through a virtual exhibition aimed at promoting some of the major African works of art, housed both in international museums and in Italy. The event is sponsored by the International Center for the Study of the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ICCROM).

In his address, Minister Luigi Di Maio praised the partnership with Africa and the “deep ties” that bind Italy to Africa. Di Maio recalled the need to “preserve a very broad cultural heritage” and recalled the “consolidated” collaboration that has always considered Africa a privileged relationship and an indispensable link. Italy, as president of the G20, also proposed putting Africa at the center of the ministerial meetings on culture. (@OnuItalia)

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