Chinese officials say a ‘favorable’ narrative about their relations with Africa could emerge with the adoption of new media technologies, mostly developed by Beijing.
The rally came this week in Nairobi from a forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation.
Chinese officials told an audience that the backlog in technology in Africa contributed to confidence in Western media, which was often a smear campaign over the run-up to Africa.
Dr Zhou Pingjian, China’s ambassador to Kenya, said there would be ‘a lot of potential’ for African technology enthusiasts and media operators in the fourth industrial revolution, which he said could compare the playing field in the future.
“China has a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of 400 million. The demand for the massive domestic market in China will continue to unleash the endless potential for the whole world. African countries will benefit greatly from China’s new development,” “said Zhou. in a virtual speech at a forum at Serena Hotel in Nairobi.
“A friendly story is undoubtedly an important part of a favorable investment environment. We hope that the media can play an even more important role in promoting an environment that is conducive to African industrialization and cooperation between China and Africa.”
Zhou argued that the “early adoption” of the Afrikaans media new technology could correct the false story. China is currently struggling with the West over the implementation of 5G technology.
The US spoke out against Beijing in particular, arguing that there were no safety and security guarantees for the technology developed by China.
The Forum, organized by the Media Council of Kenya and the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi, was part of a number of events to celebrate the Forum’s twentieth anniversary on China-Africa.
Cooperation (FOCAC), a three-year summit of leaders from both sides, to discuss economic and other ties.
At the last summit in Beijing in 2018, China pledged $ 60 billion to develop Africa, including $ 15 billion for innovation grants.
However, Beijing is often accused of not being transparent, which makes it difficult to determine the extent of the usefulness of the money.
On the Forum, Mr. Churchill Otieno, president of the Kenyan Editors Guild, said Africa and China could increase their media operations by sharing content to stop the countless stories.
But he did argue that such collaboration should focus on “partnerships that drive accountability, everything else is PR and advertising.”
“I suggest that journalists and news media in the fight for the truth should rise up the value chain and be an example of verified information,” he told the audience.
“Our best effort must be invested in the fact that the reliable information to our population is controlled and delivered in the time and format that suits their interests.”
Chinese officials have recently been focusing on non-state commitments, perhaps deviating from the usual government-to-government. Forty days ago, they hosted a meeting in Beijing with African and Chinese think tanks, arguing that the continent would better generate its own policy data for use.
For the media, the Chinese now have the largest agency for the China Global Television Network (CGTN) in Nairobi, which is part of Beijing’s long-term goal of establishing networks through the Belt and Road Initiative.
Mr Tian Yuhong, executive secretary of the All China Journalists Association, argued that both China and Africa were the victims of a smear campaign by the West and that they should work together to fight back.
“The Chinese and African press must strengthen exchanges and cooperation, learn from each other and promote the development of media convergence jointly,” he said in a virtual speech from Beijing.
Scientific media coverage
‘For some time now, the United States and Western countries have been using their digital media technologies to slander and discredit China and Africa, trying to draw a wedge between China and Africa and China and Africa’s development paths, systems and demonize achievements. , in an effort to protect their own interests. ‘
He referred to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first cases of which were reported in China as one area where Western media “deliberately attacked and smeared” other countries. The US initially accused China of concealing facts about the virus, as well as endorsing the death toll.
“The Chinese and African press need to be more united and pursue joint objective, rational and scientific media coverage, improve mutual understanding between China and Africa and strengthen the traditional friendship between our two sides.”
The Chinese said they would be ready to train African journalists on new technologies. The biggest question, however, is whether the quality of journalism will also improve.
Mr. Otieno challenges the Chinese to open up networks abroad with appropriate domestic spaces, arguing that the Chinese media has not yet begun any form of independent journalism.