Western media slammed for using images of black people

The Foreign Press Association Africa has slammed media outlets using images of black people alongside stories of the monkeypox outbreak in North America and the United Kingdom. 

Last week, a number of countries in Europe reported an outbreak of Monkeypox, however, most international media have been using images of black people alongside stories of the outbreak. 

What is Monkeypox? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. As any other disease, it can occur in any region in the world and afflict anyone regardless of race or ethnicity. 

Foreign Press Association Africa said it disturbing for European and North American media outlets to use stock images bearing persons with dark/black and African skin complexion to depict an outbreak of the disease in the United Kingdom and North America.

“We condemn the perpetuation of this negative stereotype that assigns calamity to the African race and privilege or immunity to 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 outbreaks. It is a lack of nuance and empathy given to people suffering from this disease.” 

Foreign Press Association


Spreading of the virus can occur through contact with skin lesions and droplets from a person with the virus. Sharing personal items such as towels and bedding may also cause the virus to spread. 

Once a person is infected they may experience a variety of symptoms including fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face. These symptoms are often mild and usually clear up in a few weeks.

ALSO READ: UK seeing daily monkeypox infections

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