Foreign Press Association, Africa (FPAA) headquartered in Kenya, has registered its displeasure against the use of images of black people by European and North America media outlets to depict stories of Monkeypox outbreak.
It said the zoonotic disease caused by monkeypox virus could occur in any part of the world and afflict anyone regardless of race, thus, “no race or skin complexion should be the face of this disease.”
In a press release jointly signed by Mr Kennedy Wandera, Mr Douglas Okwach and Hiba Morgan, Chair, Secretary and Treasurer of FPAA respectively, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, the Association condemned the use of stock images of black persons to tell the outbreak of the disease in United Kingdom and North America.
It said the logical thing to do was to use images from hospitals across Europe or the Americas.
“We condemn the perpetuation of this negative stereotype that assigns calamity to the African race and privilege or immunity to the other races.
What is the convenience of using such images to tell the world how Europe and America are reeling from the outbreak of Monkeypox? Is the media in the business of ‘preserving White purity’ through ‘Black criminality or culpability’?”
“We find these actions to be very insensitive. It is glaring in the lack of dignity afforded to Black and brown-skinned victims of disease outbreak. It is a lack of nuance and empathy given to people suffering from this disease,” the release added.
It said the world was forging alliances against systemic racism and racial stereotypes and the media should be at the forefront shaping positive images and narratives and it was important for editorial managers in news outlets outside Africa to update their image policies.
“FPAA offers its readiness to support media houses seeking to review their editorial policies to reflect correct framing of Africa, people of African descent and people living in Africa,” the release concluded.
Symptoms of monkeypox are similar but less severe than those of the smallpox virus. They normally appear a week or two after exposure to the virus, though it can take longer in some cases.
Monkeypox normally starts with flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, a headache, and achy muscles.