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New Africa edition of China daily

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New Africa edition of China daily

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:40 pm

Last week, Beijing's leading English-language newspaper, China Daily, begun publishing a weekly Africa edition, focusing on financial news and targeting Africa's growing middle class.

Earlier this year, China's international broadcaster, CCTV, launched an impressive media operation in Africa, producing one hour a day of content from the continent as well as feature programs on African affairs, through a newsroom of more than 40 Chinese and 70 African staff members.

China's growing influence in Africa

Both initiatives add to the more established activities of China's news agency, Xinhua, which in recent years has deepened its partnerships with African media outlets and provides them with news from across the world as well as from the dozens of African countries where it has correspondents.

The lightning growth of Chinese media is part of the dramatic expansion of the presence of Chinese diplomats, peacekeepers, commercial actors (state-owned or private) and ordinary citizens that has been transforming the African continent in the last 10-15 years.

From Angola's oilfields and Dakar's markets to Congo's mines and Nairobi newsrooms, supply and demand centers are being reconfigured, cultural encounters are shaking social networks and alternative political alliances are emerging. The new developments in the media offer an interesting lens to highlight the trade-offs and learning curves that define the increasingly complex China-Africa story.


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Re: New Africa edition of China daily

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:40 pm

In a context of Africa's growing importance to the global economy, Chinese media present a radical challenge to Western style journalism.

As was highlighted at a recent conference at Oxford University, Chinese news media are seeking to compete with players such as CNN and Al Jazeera, but they are rolling out what they claim is a different approach to journalism. What Chinese media are offering to Africa is "positive reporting," a style of journalism that focuses on collective achievements rather than divisive issues like political crises or sensational negative news like famines.

Their message is that Africa, similarly to China, has received too much negative publicity in the Western-dominated global media. In this view, Chinese and African voices are finally finding ways to tell their own stories which offer a healthy correction to stereotypes of Africa as the "hopeless continent," with endless wars, HIV and hunger.
The Africa of today, while still consumed by many intractable problems, is no longer the Africa of the 1990s: Millions of Africans are seizing on unprecedented opportunities to build new lives.

This optimistic message about Africa turning a corner has faced criticism on different fronts. One of the most pertinent charges is that "positive reporting" fails to deliver on one of the main mandates of journalism: acting as a watchdog and keeping those in power in check, rather than praising them for their successes.
The tight controls on the media landscape that dominate public debates in China are being mirrored in coverage of Africa, which does not question Beijing's ties with unsavory regimes like Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Dos Santos's Angola, and which does little of the important investigative journalism that is required to ensure Africa's real economic growth does not just accrue to the top 1% in society.

Yet however justified the questioning of uncritical positive reporting about African economies and their political regulators is, the main risk of reporting Africa is not simply on the tone of the reporting: rather, it is the ability to shed clichés and use the resources available to promote a better knowledge of the continent.


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