Updated: Nov 3, 2020
HMPTV produced Professor Boyce Watkins London economic conference
The media is simply a medium between two parties to convey a message from one to another. The media spectrum is very powerful and has one simple formula which is the authors are deemed authentic, therefore becoming the authorities.
For hundreds of years African Diasporan people had a powerful media influencing cultures around the world and this media is what populates museums worldwide today and shows the world our greatness and our contributions to civilization. From the walls of Egypt, the scripts of Timbuktu and Olmec statues of Mesoamerica these serve as a medium connecting us from the past to the present. With the colonization and enslavement of Africans much of this great history was removed from our minds and we are only now through our scholars and authors and modern tools of communication being able to re tell these histories.
Media can be used benevolently or malevolently, no different than fire but if used incorrectly can have far reaching affects as the black community very well know. Currently our community, as of March 2020, based on our past experiences and interaction with what is referred to, as mainstream media people are very distrustful of governments and media due to being unfairly misrepresented, not only in the printed press but also across most mediums with many recent stories highlighting this fact.
Today during March 2020 we live in fear of Covid 19, which brings me to the title of this piece. Mainstream media has been accused over the past 20 years of creating a climate of fear from 9/11 and the perceived persecution of the Muslim community, to the constant demonization of the public sector, through to Brexit and the increased xenophobia that it has created and now the Chinese are responsible for our current woes. As African people we have been at the forefront continually of racism advocated through the press from muggers in the 80’s to gangs today and a constant biased view presented of our communities wherever we are in the world.
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The 3 main news-collating agencies Newscorp, Reuters and Bloomberg, which are responsible for disseminating the world’s global news, which is distributed through the various infrastructure mediums that have been created, and in turn they set what the world sees and how it is received. Most reporters are just that reporters, who just report what are briefed and true investigative journalism is now being left to publishing houses.
It is often argued by those within the civil liberties movement that this is unfair, biased and only serves the interest of the few and there were further fears of what the Leveson report may do to further censor the abilities of journalists.
We as black people feel through lived experience that we have been excluded (the recent NHS coverage with no one of colour included is a great example) have received the brunt of an unbiased media for far too long and now with Covid-19 and a lockdown many of the black community as well as others, who feel disenfranchised by government and the media, has caused people to look to alternative sources of information which may or may not be true.
There are no bodies, which further investigates, confirms and packages professionally the findings. Also knowing that most government legislation affects African Diasoran people disproportionally, hence our mistrust, but with no media we are unable to highlight, disseminate or even afford to investigate facts. A classic recent example is the first person in the UK detained under new Coronavirus act laws; was coincidentally black and she has just had the case dismissed due to wrongful arrest.
HMPTV produced Les Brown Live in London
Therefore, as global Africans, how do we best protect our interests which first and foremost are our children and develop narratives in order for them to be able to thrive in a new world, when we surface from this lockdown. We need to develop a media that educates and controls its own narrative, empowers its populous and is built upon facts, therefore enabling it to become a trustworthy source.
We need to be able to draw upon the best talent across the media spectrum and create an industry serving its community, from professionals coming from said community. Our narrative will always be different, as are our perspectives, experiences and objectives though generally most members of humanity seek the same thing. We should seek what is the best for ourselves, our communities and our overall wellbeing via a well informed media, based upon facts and being an authority, serving its community to the best of its ability.
If we had our own media, built to be credible and relying on our own experts, of whom we have plenty of, we could at least be able to inform our communities correctly and en-masse. We could correlate all the stories and scrutinize, qualify and report the validity of news before reactionary behavior takes place.
There is a wealth of educated Afrocentric scholars, in a wide range of fields, to whom without a media to support them, their voices are never heard and they are never seen as reputable over their counterparts. We can change this, we must change this and a centralized focused media is the first point between our academia and our people so we can begin to see our voices, our narratives, and that their perspective counts.
At Helping My People Television our intent is to deliver a media that works to benefit us first at all times. We will not bend to the will of others and our agenda to better our communities will always come first, but for this to occur black people have to begin to understand that infrastructures take investment and support from the ground up.
With no media, we will constantly be at the mercy of misinformation and furthermore be complicit due to inaction, whereas a African Diasporan media working on our behalf will be based on truth, facts and right information leading to empowerment, development and self-determination. We are at a crossroads and have a choice but either way HMPTV will continue to represent the black community globally.
By HMPTV CEO Robert Robinson