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Media stakeholders commit to joint efforts toward refocusing China-Africa narratives

by kenya-tribune
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A high-level media cooperation forum held in Nairobi Wednesday saw the sector’s players from China and Africa undertake to work together to shape the way Chinese and African stories are told.

In a move aimed at changing historical narratives about China and Africa, media executives attending CMG Media Cooperation Forum 2022 made commitments to harmonize actions and support each other in shaping opinion, by particularly making the voices of developing countries heard globally.

He said facts about the two sides should never be misrepresented for whatever reason.

“The history and culture of African countries, as well as the development process of the continent, should be narrated and presented to the world from a more open and equal perspective,” China Media Group (CMG) Africa Bureau Chief Cao Ri noted

“We also want to work with our partners to enhance the well-being of Chinese and African people, improve the capacity of Chinese and African media for engaging in international communication, and build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future,” he added

His sentiments resonated well with those of other media executives from across Africa. Amin Kef Sesay, the Managing Editor for Sierra Leone’s calabash newspaper said the coming together was long overdue even as he lamented that certain individuals deliberately misinform with the objective to create an ulterior impression far from the truth. He said the media should play a neutral role and give people the right facts as opposed to ‘propaganda and falsehood.’

“It is only by strengthening cooperation that the media can expose the real facts from lies as international politics is full of hypocrisy and deceptions,” he said reiterating the media’s role in enhancing the same.

As far as China is concerned, Sesay called attention to the need for the media to objectively portray the advantages that are being derived from the bi-lateral or multi-lateral relationship that China has with African countries.

“Whether it is providing funding for any project or services highly needed that should be reported by the media with emphasis on the mutual benefits to be derived. By informing the populace people will know the rationale behind the move or offer otherwise speculation will take over,” he averred

On his part, Aziz Hartley, Editor-in-Chief of Independent Media Group, South Africa argued that African media has a responsibility to assist in the realization of China’s vision of contributing to world development and economic growth, along with its own development and economic advances. He said China has achieved tremendous development setting an example other nations should be following especially looking at how it dealt with poverty, poor infrastructure, and underdevelopment.

“The African media has a responsibility to assist in the realization of China’s vision. We should help governments on the continent understand that if they are serious about improving the lives of all our peoples, they would do well to follow China’s ethos of “leaving nobody behind”, he said

While calling for closer cooperation between African and Chinese media stations, Kenya’s Capital FM Editorial Director, Bernard Momanyi, held the view that with an injection of stories with a different perspective, media cooperation will also help to deepen trade, cultural exchange and people to people relations for the benefit of all.

“From the audience interaction whenever we publish stories from China, we can tell the appetite and interest our local and international audience has for news from China,” Bernard Momanyi, Editorial Director, Capital Fm

The Director General of Gabon Television also welcomed the decision by Chinese media to establish bureaus across Africa noting that this has transformed education, information, and entertainment through media.

“Indeed, the availability of Chinese programmes translated into French by China Media Group Africa has enabled us to introduce the Chinese culture to the people of Gabon.  This collaboration has enabled Gabon Television to enrich its programme schedule with documentaries, films, series, and cartoons that are very popular with our viewers,” he said

A number of Chinese and African scholars also graced the 2022 CMG Media Cooperation Forum and called for a close working relationship between the media fraternity and to play a role in promoting existing cooperation between Africa and China.

This year’s forum was organized with an overriding message of ‘planning common development in the new journey and enhancing global communication’ between Chinese and African media

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