Source: Africa Daily Updated: 2013/11/25
Chinese and African media should use their existing strengths to gain leverage in the global media and balance off the domination by the Western media, the dean of the International Center for Communication at Tsinghua University, Prof. Li Xiguang said in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday.
He told Xinhua in an interview that while Chinese media has the money, the African journalists have the advantage of the language.
"China has the capacity of technology and the capacity of money while African journalists have the language capacity. They can write good English, better than the Chinese journalists," he said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on China-Africa Media Cooperation organized by the Chinese Embassy in Kenya and local non-profit group, the Inter Regional Economic Network.
With the theme of "Enhance China-Africa Media Cooperation for Shared Dreams", the day-long seminar is meant to come up with suggestions on how to deepen China-Africa media relations and tell the story of the growing cooperation rather than leave it to the western media.
"Chinese and African journalists also share a common dream for development and to have a better life," he added.
He said these synergies should be utilized to enable the two partners increase their global media influence so that they can tell their story to the world instead of letting the western media tell the story which often happens with distortions.
He said Chinese and African editors need to invest more knowledge in knowing about trending global issues especially regarding the media so as not to be caught unawares.
He said the challenge for Chinese journalists is that they should get more confident while the African journalists should seek to become more agenda setting like the Western journalists are.
A problem is that in Africa, the agenda is mostly being set by the West supported non-governmental organizations, he said, citing the developments in North Africa especially in Libya, Tunisia andEgypt.
"Even in those circumstances, the story was being told by the Western media or African journalists working for the Western media, " he said.
The crisis presented an opportunity for African and Chinese journalists to cooperate and tell the true story behind the uprising in North Africa, but they were outsmarted by their Western counterparts and the story was told from the perspective of Western journalists.
Li also said it is important that African journalists learn how to propagate the interests of their people and learn that every media outlet, whether private or public, is essentially a tool of propaganda.
China and Africa, he suggested, should share more content to enable their people to improve cultural understanding. He said China should also use the greater global outreach of its media to help Africa tell its story to the world instead of leaving it to the Western media.
According to Prof. Li, more Chinese non-governmental organizations and foundations should take a proactive role in assisting in the capacity building of African journalists, as Westerners do.
He said the training of journalists is not as important as having them visit and experience China and let Chinese journalists visit Africa to form informed opinions of each other.
He called on African journalists to be confident and smart enough, to utilize the friendship with Chinese, and influence them to support the push for African interests.