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The representation of Africa as a geography of disease: how the global north media reporting of the monkeypox virus reinforce stereotypes about Africa

Anastasia Ngozi Iwuagwu


This paper examines how the international media reporting on the monkeypox epidemic reinforces stereotypes about Africa and what this means for Africa in global power relations. How European and Western media depict Africa in their reporting of an epidemic creates and reinforces power dynamics and political bias along the lines of Africa being portrayed as a diseased-poor continent. The effect of these global inequalities is evident in the travel ban policies and the unequal distribution of vaccines. The concepts of hegemony, stigma, and labeling theory were used as theoretical approaches to analyze how foreign media hegemony creates and reinforces stereotypes about Africa through media reporting of an epidemic like the 2022 monkeypox virus. Online publications and tweets by Western and European media outlets were used as data to analyze foreign media hegemony while reporting the monkeypox outbreak in Europe and North America. As a counter-hegemony, African journalists reacted to foreign media agencies using African images to report disease outbreaks in the Global North. The conclusion and recommendation of this paper call for investment in African journalism to help Africa tell their own story and for African literature and researchers from Africa to contribute to global biomedical literature.

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eISSN: 2734-3324
print ISSN: 2672-5142