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The power of the press

Updated: 2013-03-08 11:51
By Denise Kodhe ( China Daily)

The media has a large role to play in promoting and enhancing China-Africa cooperation

Cooperation between China and Africa is growing from strength to strength. The Sino-African cooperation established nearly 20 years ago is aimed at promoting development in Africa, as well as enhancing relations, understanding, and exploring opportunities for mutual benefit.

During the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Beijing last year, information and communication were earmarked for development under the Beijing Action Plan 2013-15.

Under the theme of building on past achievements and opening up prospects for this new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, China pledged to support media development in Africa by training personnel in the information sector. It also promised to actively support and encourage competitive Chinese information, communication, radio and television companies to participate in the building of information infrastructure in Africa and engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with their African counterparts.

The media is poised to play a major role in the transformation and development of Africa, not only in terms of informing and entertaining but also in educating and creating awareness of business and cultural development opportunities within the China-Africa cooperation frame.

Over the past few years, leading media organizations in China have launched their operations in Africa. China Daily recently launched its Africa Weekly publication in Nairobi, Kenya. During the launch, Xie Songxin, China Daily's assistant editor-in-chief, lauded the friendship and cooperation between the people of China and Africa. He expressed confidence that his publication would play a pivotal role not only in championing and promoting the goals and objectives of China-Africa cooperation but also in creating a better understanding to strengthen the countries' relationship.

According to Xie, China Daily, which is the leading English publication in China, aims to highlight issues and opportunities in areas of business, entertainment, culture and trade. The publication will also cover other topical issues of common interest.

China Daily Africa Weekly also intends to promote socio-economic and political issues aimed at enhancing development in both sides. The Chinese and African media are expected to play major roles in entertaining, informing and educating the people by providing relevant information.

Among the other leading Chinese media organizations that have established operations in Africa are Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television and China Radio International. They have provided employment and training opportunities for African journalists.

The opening-up policy of 1978 enabled China to welcome the international community for partnerships in trade and development. It has also created opportunities for exchanges in academic and other fields, including the media. Media exchanges have provided excellent opportunities for African journalists to learn from the experiences of their counterparts in China.

Through the exchange programs, journalists from both sides are able to exchange information, ideas and experiences and also to socialize at the professional and personal levels. This past July, China hosted a group of journalists from nearly 30 African countries who also had an opportunity to cover the Fifth Ministerial FOCAC Conference held in Beijing around the same time.

During the meeting with the African journalists, Deng Yaping, the deputy secretary-general of the People's Daily, urged the media to remain focused, optimistic and positive, thereby becoming good ambassadors for China and Africa. Deng observed that the role of the media is not only very significant, but it is also critical in terms of articulating the issues and objectives of Sino-African cooperation.

The FOCAC conference also outlined various measures to be undertaken by the Chinese government and its African counterparts aimed at enhancing and facilitating the development of mutual interests. Other prospects under this new strategic partnership include political affairs; regional peace and security; cooperation in international, economic, development and cultural affairs; and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

The author is the executive director of the Institute for Democracy & Leadership in Africa. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 03/08/2013 page8)

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