* Since writing this piece on 26 December 2016, the AllAfrica Customer Service department finally responded to me on 5 January 2017. They have removed the article but have failed to clarify how they sourced my story and why someone else had been cited as the author. See below for more details.
I was no less than appalled to see a story that I had so carefully crafted had been taken by you and your organisation without any reference to the real author. My article ‘Destination Africa: Why producer Maame Adjei is championing African travel’ was published on the allafrica.com website on 18 September 2016 without my permission. I have no idea how you sourced this particular article as I had published it on my blog page on 12 September and sent the article to online publication Modern Ghana, which printed it on 19 September.
In your version, my byline no longer materialises and instead it seems Owusu-Bediako has replaced me. After endless attempts to contact allafrica.com or even find this so-called author, I reached a dead end. I contacted the then editor via Twitter, on their website in October but to no avail. So I decided to make my feelings clear – the only way I know how and through the only platform I have the authority and freedom to speak my mind on.
As any writer will know, writing is a truly personal affair and no more so when the writer has sourced original copy from an original source. This is what I do and because of this, I make a point of writing a sentence byline at the end of everything I pen and send out. It is for this reason that it is all the more galling that someone within your organisation, who is presumably paid, could pass my story off as his own. I know that compared to some of the media outlets listed on your website, I am small fry but is that normal practise for your organisation? Surely it makes more sense to acknowledge the efforts of writers?
I checked out allafrica.com’s website, which outlines the following:
All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.
How can that be if you failed to seek permission from the copyright holder?
It goes on to say:
AllAfrica publishes around 1,000 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.
However, on my particular article – there is no indication of any named publisher. And on their list of ‘news organizations, institutions and individuals’ neither myself or Modern Ghana are mentioned. So where did you source my article from, it is odd that it appears to be published the same day (18 September) that I sent the article to Modern Ghana. But after contacting the Modern Ghana editor, I was informed that the article was not published on their site until the following day. On top of that, I want to know why is it not correctly cited? I look forward to your response.
AllAfrica’s customer service department contacted me on 5 January. They said they had not seen my earlier requests and apologised for the delay. They added that they had removed the article from their archive but did not explain how they got it in the first place and why it was not credited to me. I contacted them with a follow-up email on 10 January repeating my request and was told on the same day that they “do not know how the article reached the newspaper with which they have a content agreement” – so their only option was to remove it. I still have no idea which newspaper that was…. the mystery continues.
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