Africa: Rise of Drones - African Journalists Counter Lies With Tech

26 April 2018

Digital Content

Drones and satellites are helping African journalists to expose lies and shed light on underreported issues in regions that are largely inaccessible. But restrictive regulations threaten their reporting.

For Nairobi-based journalist Soila Kenya, technology is a tool to unearth the truth. She recounts an attack by terrorist group al-Shabab last year, when militants struck an army base in Kulbiyow, Somalia. Kenya's defense forces downplayed the damage and claimed they had repelled the attackers.

But satellite stills and drone footage told a different tale.

Analysts from African Defense Review and research group Bellingcat found militants had in fact overrun the base -- and inflicted heavy casualties in the process.

Satellite technology unearthed something that "really would not have been possible otherwise," said Kenya.

Fact-checking is not the only area in which technology can aid reporting. Drones and sensors help journalists reach regions they can't easily access on foot, said South African journalist and director of NGO Code for Africa Justin Arenstein. The civil war in Syria, for instance, attracted more media attention than the one in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said.

"Although there are bigger movements of people and reports of larger numbers of civilian deaths out of the Congo, it's receiving far less attention, simply because there's no visual evidence of this happening, he added. Read the full article on DW here