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Africas second drought - Argumentative Writing Bob...

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December 17, 2006 Argumentative Writing Bob Wilkinson Africa’s Second Drought Often there is no single statement that can be made that holds true throughout an entire country, so it is impressive when such a statement can be made, and be true, about an entire continent: Africa is in trouble. In most cases it can even be stated that Africa is on a downward spiral. Governmental corruption plays a main role in Africa’s impending doom. Dictators exploit the poor and hog the profits. Why is this affliction only facing some nations, though? Why, for example, is Canada, a land full of natural resources, not a hot bed of corruption? Although some idealists may answer that it is the presence of democracy that curbs corruption, truly, it requires more than that. The difference between Canada and the countries in Africa is the presence of free speech and the ability of the people to freely express their opinions. Any country that hopes to escape the cruelty of a greedy and over zealous government must have a free press to play the part of watchdog. Increasingly, Africa’s leaders have learned that by controlling the media, by censoring the voices of their people, they can more easily control their countries. There is another sort of drought taking place in Africa today; it is not due to a lack of water, but to a lack of factual information. The idea that freeing and democratizing African countries was dependent on the independence of their media was first brought forward in an UNESCO seminar entitled “Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press,” held in Windheok, Namibia in
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April 1991. From this seminar, the Declaration of Windhoek was born. This document, and the seminar surrounding it, first looked at the instances of intimidation, imprisonment and censorship across Africa with respect to its media. “With a strong belief in the connection between a fully independent press and successful participatory democracy,” the document calls for “free, independent and pluralistic media throughout the world”( Declaration of Windhoek 1). The document stressed that a free press was essential to democracy, and, therefore, freedom. The stress put on democratizing African countries was mostly due to the fear of communism during the Cold War, but the underlying point of the Declaration of Windhoek, that without freedom of speech there will be no freedom, can be held as a universal truth. Sadly, this was one of the few acts of press freedom on the continent. More than half of the countries on the continent of Africa have since gone through series of intimidation and censorship from the ruling parties of their governments. For nearly every case of censorship, the governments have cited national security as the cause. In most cases, if the government responsible for the censorship was pressed for more answers, they would either offer no comment or shut down the papers and imprison the reporters asking the questions (Hear No Evil 1).
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