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Six times that CNN has goofed while reporting on Africa


Kenyans on Twitter on Thursday roasted CNN for a sensational report on President Barack Obama’s visit to the country, where they said he was going to a “hotbed of terror”.

Using #SomeoneTellCNN, the ‘twitteratti’ wrote all manner of obscenities to the American cable network.

But this is not the first time CNN has misrepresented the continent.

1. Calling Kenya a ‘hotbed of terror’

Kenyans on Wednesday woke up to screaming headlines from CNN referring to Kenya as a “hotbed of terror”.

“President Barack Obama is not just heading to his father’s homeland, but to a hotbed of terror. Al-Shabaab militants in East Africa are now posing new worries for the President’s trip to Kenya this week,” the broadcaster reported on its website.

In reality, Kenya has experienced more than 138 attacks in the past three years, which makes it more of a terror flash point than a hot bed.

2. Nairobi is in Nigeria

On April 3, CNN added another feather to its dubious reputation of inaccurate reporting of events in Africa when it announced to the world that Nairobi is located in Nigeria.

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In its coverage of the terrorist attack at Garissa University College, the broadcaster aired a live telephone conversation with Arnolda Shiundu of Kenya Red Cross from “Nairobi, Nigeria”.

3. Misplacing Nigeria and Tanzania

CNN appears to be the epitome of the adage that “many Americans think nothing exists beyond River Mississippi”.

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Long before claiming Nairobi was in Nigeria, the station had wrongly placed Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy- on the map. They claimed Nigeria was where Niger is.

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And in another story on a terror attack in Kenya, CNN captioned Uganda as Tanzania.

4. Garissa is border town in Kenya
During the coverage of the terrorist attack at Garissa CNN had announced – as breaking story – that Garissa town was on the Kenya-Somalia border.

Garissa is actually located approximately 200 kilometers from the border.

5. ‘Violence in Kenya’

The international broadcaster has been mired in frequent instances of misreporting in Kenya.

After the grenade attack by Al-Shabaab militants at Machakos country bus station in March 2012, in which six people died, CNN screamed that there is “violence in Kenya.”

This prompted Kenyans on Twitter to respond with the hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN. The tweeters reasoned that a grenade attack and violence were two different things.

6. Paying actors to pose as militia

This is the most dubious of them all that actually bore the hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN. Before the 2013 general election, CNN reporter Nima Elbagir paid actors in a forest, armed them with crude weapons and shot a story on how “Kenyans had armed themselves” in anticipation of post – election violence.

The broadcaster later pulled down the story after daylong bashing by Kenyans on Twitter.