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Title: Africa through British eyes : the changing representation of the D.R. Congo in the London Times, 1885-2006
Author: Djongana, Faustin Chongombe
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis seeks to respond to the on-going complaints from both African and western scholars that Africa is negatively represented in the western media. The findings showed that news stories, opinions and commentaries expressed throughout the coverage of the Congo, including editorials and letters and from pre-colonial to modern Congo, were written by western journalists and correspondents from the London Times and associated correspondents, while four other news agencies Agence France Press (AFP), Associated Press (AP), the Belgian news agency (Belga) and Reuters were the main sources for The Times newspaper. News makers in Pre-Colonial and Colonial periods were almost exclusively westerners and references to the Congolese people appeared in generic terms. In Post-Colonial and Modern periods, Congolese people did appear by name but only in a limited capacity. The thesis also identifies differences between the coverage in each period, for example highlighting the critical engagement with the Congo that characterised the reporting of 1908. The Congo was represented over the periods sampled with negative stereotypes such a 'primitive', 'backward', 'barbaric, 'dangerous destination,' 'place for business,' 'natives to be civilised, evangelised and educated.' Recurring themes such as forced labour, civil war, corruption, child exploitation, poverty, refugees, witchcraft, dependency and mismanagement prevail in the reporting. The research investigated the changing representations of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the western media by examining its coverage in the London Times from a historical context that included four key historic years in the Congo's development, namely 1885, 1908, 1960 and 2006, referred to as the Pre-Colonial, Colonial, Post-Colonial and Modern Congo periods. The London Times, which used to be one of the leading western newspapers and the British newspaper of record, was selected. Content and discourse analysis were used to evaluate and categorise the news items published in the sampled periods to distinguish the emerging themes, to identify the sources, and to interpret the language used in the coverage. The findings have shown that since its inception to the modern period, the reporting of the Congo in The Times has avowedly been through western eyes, and, as with much journalism, has not offered any real context to the stories. The poor benighted heathens thus continue in their war-torn arbours.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Congo ; Democratic Republic of the Congo